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No. 82 







Copyright, 1911 



Ube ftnicfeetbocfter press, Hew fl?orft 

1o H3S*~ 







2. PETRUS ROSELLI, 1468 33 






1537 39 




TURY 43 








17. JAUME OLIVES, 1566 56 





21. vincentius prunes, 1597 64 

22. anonymous, atlas of three charts, second half of 

16th century 65" 

23. anonymous, atlas of three charts, late 16th century 66 

24. anonymous, 16th century 67 

25. anonymous, late 16th century 68 

26. vincentius demetrius volcius, 1600 68 

27. maiolo e visconte, 1605 69 

28. joannes oliva, early 17th century 70 

29. placitus calviro et oliva, early 17th century 71 

30. anonymous, early 17th century 72 














JAUME OLIVES, 1566 .54 










AMONG the geographical records of earlier centuries 
which have come down to us, none are more in- 
teresting than the portolan charts which were 
drawn during the years fittingly designated the period 
of great geographical discoveries. They attract and hold 
the attention by reason of their artistic features, as well 
as by their remarkable approach to scientific accuracy for 
so early a period. 

To the cloister maps of the middle ages they present 
a marked contrast. The former strikingly exhibit the in- 
fluence of ecclesiastical and classical tradition. In general, 
they are far from truthful in their presentation of the geo- 
graphical features of the earth. Though highly interesting 
as reflecting geographical notions of the time in which they 
were drawn, they possess little value as scientific maps. 

Portolan charts are based upon careful and what may 
be called scientific observations. It is only in recent times 
that there has been an improvement in the charting of 
the region to which most of them pertain, that is, the 
Mediterranean and the Atlantic coast in varying extent 
to the north and the south of Gibraltar. They too ex- 
hibit the geographical interests of the period to which 
they belong. They are the creations of seamen, navi- 
gators, explorers, chart-makers who were leaders in the 


expansion of geographical knowledge which opened the 
New World region of Africa, of India, and of America. 
This brief word concerning the origin, character, and 
general significance of portolan charts, the first modern 
scientific maps, is presented as an introduction to a de- 
scriptive list of the numerous originals belonging to The 
Hispanic Society of America. An inquiry into the his- 
tory of portolan charts which have been preserved to 
our day leads immediately to a query concerning their 
origin. None of those extant are known to have been 
drawn prior to the year 1300, and the oldest example 
bearing date and signature is that of Pietro Visconte 
of the year 1311. Nordenskiold thinks that the normal 
portolan chart, as he chooses to call it, that is, the one 
which served as a sort of original pattern, must have 
been constructed sometime during the thirteenth century, 
from numerous coast sketches such, for example, as 
those which may be found in a cosmographic poem by 
Leonardo Dati, bearing the title La sfera. The argu- 
ments in support of the assumption seem reasonable, yet 
the fact remains that no dated portolan chart of that 
century, as has been stated above, is known; neither are 
such sketches known as those to which Nordenskiold re- 
fers, antedating the fourteenth century. An interesting 
record, however, is that to be found in a work by Guil- 
laume de Nangis describing the crusade of King Louis 
IX. in 1270, noting that the King's ships had sea charts 
on board. In the voyage from Aiguesmortes to Cag- 
liari, the port selected for the rendezvous of the ships 
making up the expedition, they were overtaken by a 
storm, and at the end of the sixth day, as Cagliari had 
not yet been reached, the King expressed a wish to know 
the exact location of his ship. The pilots, we are told, 

brought to him their charts, and showed to him that the 
port was not far distant. 

Theobald Fischer has advanced the theory that porto- 
lan charts have a Byzantine origin, and Fiorini holds 
that Italian navigators, not long after 1000 a. d., learned 
from the Greeks of Constantinople how to make and 
how to use charts which were founded on drawings and 
measurements, and that in succeeding years they grad- 
ually improved them. Again the fact confronts us that 
no portolan chart of Byzantine or Greek origin is known, 
nor is the evidence of such eastern influence traceable 
in existing charts. 

The first thousand years and more of the Christian 
era have left us none of the sailors' charts which may 
have been employed during those centuries. 

Ptolemy alone of the ancient writers alludes to the 
charts of seamen, and one might conclude from his refer- 
ences that such as he had in mind were not unlike the 
portolan charts which we have here under consideration. 
But all these too are lost. 

As there appears to be a relationship existing between 
the ancient periplus, the Italian portolan, and the porto- 
lan chart of the period of discovery, which chart at first 
was doubtless regarded as a very useful addition to the 
portolan, coming in time to supplant it as the know- 
ledge of seamanship expanded, a more extended refer- 
ence to the character of the periplus and of the portolan 
will fittingly introduce us to the portolan chart. 

The Greeks used the word nspinXovs to designate a 
course or harbor book, literally a sailing around, a cir- 
cumnavigation. It was not applied to a sea chart or to 
a collection of sea charts. The Italian word portolanOj 
while not precisely synonymous, has a meaning strik- 

ingly similar to this Greek word, as has also the English 
word rutter, the Portuguese roteiro and the French 
routier. The term portolan should not be employed, as 
has so frequently been done, to designate the charts 
which especially interest us here; on the contrary, they 
should be called portolan charts, and this rather than 
loxodrome or compass charts, as will appear later. 

We have no information that the seamen of antiquity 
were in possession of instruments by which to direct their 
courses in the open sea. The sun and stars might guide 
in cloudless weather, but a cloudy sky brought terror to 
the sailor who had ventured upon a course which led 
beyond the horizon of known coast lines. Coasting was 
with the ancient mariners the more common practice, and 
more useful to them than a seafarer's chart, which might 
be employed in navigating from port to port across a 
trackless and unknown sea, would be a written descrip- 
tion of the seas over which they were prepared to travel 
and the coasts they had to visit, a description of the 
harbors, the shoals, the currents, the winds, and the 
facility for anchorage. 

Of coastwise navigation in antiquity a few accounts 
have been preserved to us. The story of Nearchus' voy- 
age from the mouth of the Indus to the Euphrates, in 
the time of Alexander the Great, is the story of an 
expedition which was regarded as one of great daring, 
and worthy the highest praise, but many of the incidents 
of the expedition show how meagre at that time was the 
knowledge of real seamanship. The apostle Paul's jour- 
ney from Csesarea to Rome was in large part a coastwise 
journey, and its incidents vividly set forth the dangers 
and hardships of early navigation. One wonders that 
so long a time was required for the expedition of the 


Emperor Justinian to pass from Constantinople to the 
north coast of Africa, but this expedition, requiring 
three months, was not directed over the shortest course; 
instead it too was a coastwise journey, in so far as was 
possible, leading among the islands of the iEgean, along 
the coast of Laconia, to Sicily, to Malta, thence across 
the open sea to Tunis. In each of the expeditions re- 
ferred to, the periplus must have been the pilot's guide- 
book rather than the chart. 

It is generally accepted that the oldest known peri- 
plus is that ascribed to Scylax of Caryanda. Neither 
the exact year nor the exact century can with certainty 
be given as the time of its composition. Herodotus re- 
lates in Book IV., chapter xliv., of his History, that 
" the greater part of Asia was explored by Darius, for 
he wanted to know where the river Indus, the second of 
all rivers in which crocodiles are found, flows into the 
sea, and to this end he sent out several trustworthy men, 
among them Scylax of Caryanda." We cannot, how- 
ever, be certain that the Scylax here referred to is 
the author of the periplus. Some of the records, con- 
tained in this periplus relate to geographical facts 
which belong to a time later than that of King Darius, 
while others in it allude to an earlier day. To all 
appearances, the greater part of it must have been writ- 
ten shortly before the time of Alexander the Great, 
and from the standpoint of Macedonia or Greece, seeing, 
as Kretschmer has noted, the author refers to a road 
from Corinth on the west coast over the isthmus to " our 
sea " as forty stadia in length. It includes the entire 
circuit of the Mediterranean, with a few omissions, be- 
ginning at the Pillars of Hercules on the European 
coast, tracing this coast eastward to the Tanais, thence 


around Asia Minor and the Levant to Egypt, Libya, 
and the African coast to a point opposite that of de- 
parture, and terminating at the island of Cerne, which 
island, it is stated, is twelve days' coasting beyond the 
Pillars of Hercules where the " parts are no longer 
navigable because of shoals, of mud, and of seaweed." 
The information given is confined to the immediate coast 
regions with attention directed to the physical features 
of the land, to the peoples, the rivers emptying into the 
sea, to the harbors, headlands, and shoals, with an occa- 
sional reference to inland cities in close touch with the 
coast. The distance from port to port is given, it being 
stated at the conclusion of his reference to the European 
coast that one hundred and fifty-three days are needed 
for a coastwise journey from west to east, and that five 
hundred stadia might be recorded as a day's sail. 

The following quotations will serve to indicate the 
character of this periplus, which is not a document of 
great literary worth, though it has a unique value for 
the history of geography: 

" I shall begin," says the author, " at the Pillars of 
Hercules in Europe, and shall continue to the Pillars 
of Hercules in Libya, and to the land of the great 
Ethiopians. The Pillars of Hercules stand opposite to 
each other, and the distance between them is one day's 
sail. Not far distant lie two islands by name Gadeira. 
On one of these is a city which is distant one day's 
sail. Beyond the Pillars of Hercules which are in Europe, 
there are many trading stations of the Carthaginians, 
also mud, and tides, and open seas." He notes that the 
Iberians are the first peoples to be met with in Europe, 
and refers to a Greek town which is called " Emporium," 
adding that " its inhabitants are colonists who came from 


the city of Massilia." " Seven days and seven nights 
are necessary for coasting along the country of the 
Iberians." Referring to the Ligurians, it is noted that 
they are to be found " beyond the river Rhone as far 
as Antium. Here lies the Greek city and port Massilia, 
also the colonies of Massilia, Taurnois, Olbia, and An- 
tium. It requires four days and four nights of coasting 
from the river Rhone to Antium. The entire region 
from the Pillars of Hercules to Antium is very rich 
in harbors." Concerning Libya, it is stated that it lies 
beyond the Conopic mouth of the Nile. " The first peo- 
ples to be met with are the Adyrmachidge. From Thonis 
the journey to Pharos, which is a desert island, is 150 
stadia. In Pharos, there are many harbors, but the 
ships get drinkable water at Marian. From Pharos to 
this port is a short sail. Here is also a peninsula and 
a harbor. To this point is 200 stadia. Beyond lies the 
Bay of Plinthine. From the mouth of the Bay of Plin- 
thine to Leuce Acte requires a sail of one day and one 
night, but if you should sail around the head of the bay 
twice as much time would be required. One next comes 
to the city of Apis, and as far as this point the country 
is governed by the Egyptians." In this wise the entire 
Mediterranean coast region, with minor omissions, is fol- 
lowed with attention directed to the time required in 
day and night sailing to pass a designated territory, to 
the inhabitants of the regions passed, to the towns, espe- 
cially those of Greek origin, to the geographical features, 
with an occasional reference to the manners and customs 
of the peoples. If a chart accompanied the periplus of 
Scylax, there is left to us no knowledge of it. 

In addition to this oldest and most elaborate of all 
known periploi, certain early descriptions of limited 


regions have been preserved, as the periplus of the Black 
Sea by Arrian, who at one time was a prefect of Cappa- 
docia. His description is given in a letter to the Emperor 
Hadrian. It could hardly have been intended as a pilot's 
guide-book, though it contains valuable information for 
those who had occasion to navigate the Black Sea coasts. 
To the above may be added a fragment by Marcian, 
probably of the fifth century of the Christian era, which 
includes a part of the Asia Minor coast, and an anony- 
mous periplus of the Black Sea valuable for its record 
of distances not only in stadia, but also in Roman 

Among those interested in the preparation of charts 
and sailing directions for seamen, a place of importance 
is held by Marinus of Tyre. Strangely enough, our 
knowledge of him and his work is confined to what we 
may gather from the works of Ptolemy, who lived in 
the second century of the Christian era. In chapters 
vi-xx of Ptolemy's geography, Marinus' contributions 
in this field are critically treated, and from what is 
there stated, we are justified in inferring that he had 
carefully examined numerous itineraries and accounts of 
voyages, that he had prepared a chart to include the 
regions he described, and that he gave particular at- 
tention to the coasts in his work, which was primarily 
intended for navigators. Ptolemy tells us that in his 
own work he improved upon that of Marinus, although 
he gives to the Tyrian full credit for what he had done. 
We probably have in some of the Ptolemy maps the rep- 
resentations of Marinus. There is reason for believing 
that there were marine charts passing under the name 
of Marinus of Tyre, in the second century of the Chris- 
tian era, which charts were in use by the pilots of the 


Mediterranean, the Black, and the Red seas, though such 
charts seem to have disappeared shortly thereafter. 

The Greek periploi were probably employed through- 
out the Roman period, since in Latin literature no 
reference is found to original sailing directions for 

A periplus, not second in importance to that of 
Scylax, and perhaps nearly eight hundred years later, 
is the so-called Byzantine Stadiasmos. Neither the date 
when originally written, nor the author is known. It is 
preserved to us only in part in a manuscript of the tenth 
century, belonging to the Royal Library of Spain, and 
once the property of Constantine Laskaris, who, after the 
middle of the fifteenth century, fled from Constantinople 
on the coming of the Turk. It has been assigned to 
the fourth or the fifth century, but internal evidence 
seems clearly to show that in the form in which it has 
come down to us there are additions and alterations of 
later date. The author gives us to understand that it 
was constructed on the written and the verbal reports 
of navigators, and that he had set out to present a very 
exact periplus of " The Great Sea," including a state- 
ment of distances from port to port, from island to 
island, how best to approach them or to direct the course 
in passing them. It distinguishes between harbors and 
mere places of anchorage; it indicates whether a port 
designated is suitable for large or for small vessels, and 
occasionally states what notice should be taken of the 
winds in making an approach. Often the details are 
minute in describing the physical features of certain 
harbors and coasts, in giving information concerning 
localities where potable water may be obtained, in point- 
ing out the several important landmarks, such as temples, 

castles, or other buildings, sand hills, rocks, small islands, 
headlands, or forests, with an occasional warning that 
great care should be exercised in navigating certain 
waters. Apparently it included in its original form the 
entire Mediterranean and Black Seas. Starting at 
Alexandria, which city therefore is suggested as the 
home of the author, it followed the coast to the Pillars 
of Hercules in Africa, then from the same starting point 
to eastward, continuing to the Pillars of Hercules in 

It is especially interesting to find that instead of 
limiting the periplus to a continuous description of the 
coast of the mainland, a periplus of many of the islands 
is given, notably of Cyprus and Crete, with which de- 
scriptions the Stadiasmos is concluded. Numerous direc- 
tions are given for sailing from island to island, or from 
mainland to island, that is, for crossing the sea diagon- 
ally; also for sailing in various directions from certain 
points, as from Rhodes in no less than twenty-five 
directions, or from Delos in sixteen directions. 

Such statements as the last suggest a possible ex- 
planation for the introduction of crossing points as they 
appear later on the portolan charts, though on these 
charts the radiating points, it is true, have not generally 
been placed at conspicuous ports, but appear rather to 
have been inscribed regardless of any particularly im- 
portant geographical centres. 

The Stadiasmos is an exceedingly valuable record for 
the study of the historical geography of the coast regions 
covered and may well be considered the most important 
document known, linking in a sense the older Greek 
periploi with the later Italian portolans. 

A brief extract will serve further to indicate its 


character. " 1. Sailing westward from Alexandria to 
Chersonesus is 70 stadia. Here is a harbor for small 
vessels. . . . 13. From Phenicus to Hermsea is 90 
stadia; anchor here with the cape on your right. There 
is water here in a tower. 14. It is 20 stadia from 
Hermaea to Leuce Acte; nearby is a low island which 
is distant two stadia from the land. Boats carrying 
merchandise can anchor here, entering by the west wind, 
but near the shore below the promontory there is a wide 
roadstead for vessels of all kinds. Here is a temple of 
Apollo, a famous oracle. Near the temple there is 

In the periplus of Cyprus, which is a part of the 
Stadiasmos, we find, for example : " 297. Acamas to 
Paphos, with Cyprus on the left, is 300 stadia. The city 
is located toward the south. It has three harbors which 
are accessible with all winds, and a temple of Aphro- 
dite. . . . 304. From Pedalium to the islands is 80 
stadia. Here is a deserted town called Ammochostus; 
it has a harbor, and may be approached by all winds, 
but there are low rocks at the entrance. Enter with 
care ! " 

In the directions for the circumnavigation of Crete, 
we find such information as the following: " 336. From 
Biennon to Phalassarna is 160 stadia. Here is an an- 
chorage, a market-place, and an old city. The island 
Insagura is distant 60 stadia towards the east. It has 
a harbor and near the harbor a temple of Apollo. Here 
is also another island at a distance of 3 stadia, called 
Mese; it has an anchorage. The third island is called 
Myle. The channel is deep. It has a market-place." 

If to the above periploi of the Mediterranean we 
add the account of the expedition of Hanno of 465 b. c. 


along the coast of Africa, perhaps as far as Sierra Leone, 
which account contains much information of interest, not 
unlike in character that given by the periplus of Scylax, 
and the Ora Maritima of Avienus, describing in like 
manner the Atlantic coast of West Europe, we have 
practically all in the way of directions for seamen that 
is preserved from antiquity. 

The middle ages having little or nothing of value 
to present a few scattered extracts from earlier writers, 
a few maps of no special value to navigators, we may, 
therefore, pass directly to a word concerning the Italian 

The Italian portolan, as has been stated, resembles 
the Greek periplus in style and composition. This sug- 
gests that these later sailing directions are a development 
from the former. Such a relationship, however, is not 
at all easy to establish, since no example is known clearly 
representing the transition. There is, moreover, in the 
Italian portolan that which gives it the appearance of 
a new and an independent production. Very many of 
the places along the coasts have names other than those 
in the early periploi; a large number of new names 
appear; many of the old ones are omitted, which fact 
suggests that places once known as important had ceased 
to be so considered; distances are given in miles instead 
of stadia, and direction is usually recorded. 

The number of portolans known antedating 1500 is 
not large. In all there are about sixteen, some of these 
being mere fragments, others are very nearly complete 
for the regions under consideration, and most of them 
are in manuscript. Those coasts may be said to be in- 
cluded in the Italian portolans which Italian traders were 

accustomed to visit, that is, the coasts and islands of the 


* ' & 

Mediterranean, the Atlantic coast of Europe as far as 
Flanders, the south coast of England and Ireland, with 
the Atlantic coast of Africa to the vicinity of Cape 
Bojador, including the Canary Islands. It is interest- 
ing to note that these are the coasts included in the 
great majority of the portolan charts, with additions, as 
geographical knowledge expanded, until they became in 
some instances world charts. 

The latest Greek periplus of importance the Sta- 
diasmos is of the fourth or fifth century; the oldest of 
the mediaeval portolans is of the eleventh century, and 
is to be found in the Ecclesiastical History of Adam of 
Bremen, being rather an imperfect sketch of the coast 
from the mouth of the Maas River to Acre in Pales- 
tine. The text of this portolan, together with the text 
of the others known, may be found in a critical work 
by Kretschmer, Die italienischen Portolane des Mittel- 
alters, pp. 233-552. 

The following somewhat free translation of passages 
contained in the Parma-Magliabecchi portolan of the 
early fifteenth century will serve to illustrate the char- 
acter of these Italian harbor books prepared for seamen. 

" 45. From Carminar to Cartagena is 20 miles 
northeast by east. Cartagena is a good port at all 
seasons, before which port there are islands a mile dis- 
tant. You may pass between any of these islands and 
the mainland which forms a point. As you enter the 
port, beware of shoals. Sail close to the middle of the 
channel, but towards the northeastern shore, where you 
may anchor. Beware of sailing too close to a shoal 
recently discovered on the east side. Enter the port, 
keeping the mainland about two prows' lengths distant, 
where you have six and six and a half fathoms of 


water. About the year 1445, it is said, a ship was 
wrecked here during a calm, though the vessel did not 
strike a rock. The landmark of Cartagena is a high 
bald mountain on the east. On the west lies another 
mountain. Between is the entrance to Cartagena. Near 
the entrance lies an island, and you may pass between 
this and the mainland. Passing the island, you enter 
deep water, and a good anchoring-place." 

" 54. From Sallo to Barcelona is 60 miles east-north- 
east, quarter east. Barcelona is a city with a shore 
which lies toward the east having a roadstead with a 
depth of 22 paces, in front of the city. On the south- 
east by south of Barcelona is a low place called Lobri- 
gato. In departing, steer to the east from the shore, 
taking notice of a castle which rises from a depression 
leading toward Sallo. 

The landmark of Barcelona is a high, abrupt, and 
isolated mountain called Monserrate. When you are 
northeast of this, continue in that direction, and you will 
observe a low mountain with a tower on it called Mongich 
(Montguich) . Here is Barcelona." 

" 56. From San Filio to Palamosa is 10 miles 
east-northeast, quarter east. Palamosa is a good port 
facing a tower where you may anchor. In case you 
come from the east, take care of a shoal that is close to 
the point. From Palamosa to the anchoring-place of 
Acqua Fredda, 12 miles east-northeast, quarter east. 
Do not approach nearer the land than one and a 
half miles by the beacon. The landmark of this bay is 
a high mountain, bald and cut sheer to the sea, with 
islands in the distance." 

It may be noted that the portolans make their ap- 
pearance with the awakening of the commercial activities 


in the coast cities of Europe, notably in the Italian 
cities, about the tenth or eleventh century, and that for 
a period of two or three centuries, they served the 
mariners as a necessary guide in navigation, just as did 
the periploi in the earlier day. But the quickened com- 
mercial activities, coupled with the discovery and use of 
the compass, were calculated to lead to a speedy sub- 
stitution of the chart for the portolan, and portolan 
charts make their first appearance in what it seems 
proper to call a very advanced state of development in 
the years of transition from the thirteenth to the four- 
teenth century. The stages and the processes of that 
development we do not know with certainty. We may, 
however, rest assured that there is a very close relation- 
ship between the compass and the portolan chart, as 
such charts multiply very rapidly in the years following 
the application of the compass to navigation, but we 
cannot be quite sure that they owe their origin to the 
use of the compass. It seems, therefore, not appropri- 
ate to call these charts compass charts as has often been 
done, if thereby we mean to imply that they are based 
fundamentally on information acquired through the use of 
the compass. Though the crossing lines may indicate 
sailing directions, they have not the real character of loxo- 
dromes, since they were not constructed on those scien- 
tific principles which enter into real loxodrome charts, 
and furthermore it may well be doubted that the earliest 
charts of this character were furnished with crossing 
lines. The term loxodrome chart is likewise not con- 
clusively an appropriate name for them. We may say, 
in short, that we find in them some of the elements of 
the simple loxodrome chart, that is, one crossed with 
lines running from port to port to indicate sailing direc- 


tions; the elements of a compass chart in which the 
compass has played a part in determining location and 
direction; the elements of the ancient periplus the old- 
est known pilot-book for navigators; the elements of the 
mediaeval portolan, which is a more elaborate descrip- 
tion than is the former of coasts and harbors and sailing 
directions; and that we find in the portolan the chief 
corner-stone on which rest the charts here under consid- 
eration hence we may very appropriately call them 
portolan charts. It may be further stated by way of 
explanation that Carta nautica is the term which is gen- 
erally employed by Italian scholars in referring to these 
charts. With them the word portolano signifies only a 
coast or harbor-book. The chart-makers themselves, in 
referring to their work, most frequently used the word 
carta. On the oldest dated portolan chart, we find the 
legend " Petrus Vesconte de janua fecit ista carta anno 
domini MCCCXI," and in a legend on the first chart 
of his atlas of 1313, we find the word tabulas employed. 
In a chart dated 1605, Maiolo uses the term carta 
nauticatoria. Occasionally the word employed by a 
chart-maker to refer to his work is merely the personal 
pronoun, as " Vicentius Prunes in civis Majoricarum 
me fecit anno 1597." 

Portolan charts have been preserved in very large 
number, of which number near one hundred antedate 1500. 
In the sixteenth century unaltered in their fundamental 
character but more highly decorated than those of the 
fourteenth century, and having additional details, they 
become far more numerous. With a few exceptions, they 
are the work of Italian and Catalan chart-makers, a fact 
which is especially true of the earlier examples. Herein 
is a most significant witness of the leadership exercised 



by the seamen of the Italian and of the eastern Iberian 
Peninsula; a leadership held for near half a millennium, 
beginning as early as the eleventh century, and continu- 
ing until America had been discovered, Africa had been 
circumnavigated, and the water route to the Indies had 
been made known. 

In general they are drawn on parchment, as has been 
stated above, that is, on sheep skin, goat skin, or calf 
skin, but in time paper came to be used, after which 
the number of charts of this general character, with addi- 
tions of numerous details for the interior regions, was 
greatly increased by means of the printing-press. 

They are preserved in two forms, either in single 
sheets, or in sheets bound together, as an atlas, and these 
atlases, in a few instances, contain as many as twenty 
or twenty-five charts. In size the sheets vary from 
11 x 15 cm. in the very remarkable charts of the 
Tammar Loxoro atlas of the fourteenth century to 70 x 
148 cm., the size of the large single sheet chart drawn 
by Pareto in the fifteenth century. The larger world 
charts, as the Canerio, were drawn on two or more 
parchment sheets, which were securely joined together. 
In the case of the single sheet charts, the size, it seems, 
was most often determined by the size of the skin on 
which it was drawn, it being true in most cases that the 
entire skin was used, even the neck being retained, which 
fact accounts for the peculiar and apparently unneces- 
sary extension of the sheet usually on the left. In the 
portolan atlases, the several leaves were often made of 
two sheets or skins pasted together on the rougher sur- 
face, leaving the smoother surface for the drawing, which 
surface received the colors to much better advantage. 

These charts, as before stated, include in general the 


regions which are referred to in the portolans. The 
single sheet charts embrace the Mediterranean, and 
the Atlantic coast of Europe which terminates in the 
north either at Cape Finisterre or the Scandinavian 
Peninsula, with a part of the Baltic Sea and the British 
islands. In the east they include the Black Sea, in the 
south a part of the Red Sea and the north coast of 
Africa, with the Atlantic coast of this continent to a 
point near Cape Bojador. 

In the atlases the Mediterranean is usually divided 
into three sections with one chart for each; one chart 
includes the Black Sea, and one or two set forth the 
Atlantic coast regions. 

If additional charts were added they usually included 
a world chart, one or two for the African coasts, one 
perhaps for the British islands, one for the Baltic, and 
one or more for the southern Asiatic coasts. A superior 
example of an enlarged though early portolan atlas is 
that recently issued by The Hispanic Society of America 
in facsimile, being a reproduction of a British Museum 
manuscript, and edited by the author of this monograph. 

Portolan charts are projectionless, that is, they do 
not appear to have been drawn according to mathematical 
principles or rules, though they were probably based upon 
measurements and careful calculation. Their striking 
approach to accuracy, especially for the Mediterranean 
region, is, as before stated, one of their most remarkable 
features. No two are alike, and yet they have so many 
features in common that it appears they are copies of 
a common original, or that there has been a conscious 
imitation by each chart-maker as he has set himself to 
his task of chart-making. 

It is well established that most Roman maps were 


oriented with the south at the top, an arrangement which 
is to be met with in the majority of Arabic maps. Maps 
of the early mediaeval centuries have the east at the top, 
and on the uppermost border a representation of the 
earthly paradise, as if to give this prominence, it being 
perhaps the chief factor in determining the orientation. 
Portolan charts, with rare exception, are oriented with 
the north at the top, an idea which has since prevailed 
in all map construction. Herein one seems to find 
evidence of the influence of the compass in chart 

A critical examination will show that in the draught- 
ing the chart is turned slightly to the left, the amount 
being near one point of the compass. As a result of 
this, geographical localities, on the right of the chart 
for example, are placed relatively too far to the north. 
Although there is in this fact the suggestion that the com- 
pass had been employed in their construction, or in 
making the observations on which they are based, and 
that the declination of the needle had exerted an influ- 
ence, it may be noted that an acceptable argument has 
been advanced showing that Constantinople on maps 
since the time of Ptolemy had been placed too far north 
by at least two degrees. It appears, therefore, that the 
error in part is one handed down from an early day. 
The existence of the error will be readily seen on a 
critical examination of the location of any selected point 
in the eastern Mediterranean. 1 As to the length of the 
Mediterranean from east to west, the near approach to 
accuracy is also most striking. The error in very many 
of the sixteenth-century maps, traceable to Ptolemy, and 
appearing on his maps, is nearly twenty degrees, whereas 

1 Vid. Reproduction No. 22 for an exception. 


on the portolan charts the error seldom exceeds one 

Into a critical consideration of the problems of scale 
and distance as represented in portolan charts, we shall 
not be able to enter in this brief description. It is in- 
teresting, however, to note in this place that the same 
scale does not appear to have been employed for the? 
Atlantic coast that was employed for the Mediterranean. 
Though this fact is not always strikingly prominent, yet 
it is clearly indicated in a large number of the charts. 1 
Herein we may find an explanation for the frequent dis- 
tortion of the coast regions lying beyond the Straits of 
Gibraltar, and for the fact that the extension of Europe 
in latitude is greatly reduced. It may further be noted, 
as a partial explanation of some of the portolan chart- 
makers' errors, that it is physically impossible to represent 
on a plain surface correct distances, retaining at the same 
time correct latitude and longitude. 

A scale of miles divided into fifths or tenths is usu- 
ally drawn on these charts, often in as many as four 
or five different places, and frequently on charts of later 
years in a very elaborate cartouche. It is often very evi- 
dent that the drafting of such a scale was not done with 
careful attention to accuracy. Uzielli is of the opinion 
that it was the Roman mile of 1481 m. which was gen- 
erally taken as the unit of measurement. 

Prior to 1500, degrees of latitude and longitude were 
seldom if ever indicated on portolan charts, and it may 
be noted that degrees of latitude are first to be met with 
on the marine chart of Canerio, recently issued by the 
author of this paper in size of the original. 

A feature of these charts, never failing to attract, is 

1 Vid. Reproduction No. 20. 


the network of lines with which they are crossed. Though 
in some instances, a large number of these lines appear 
to have been drawn as mere fancy directed, it will gen- 
erally be found that they are arranged according to a 
carefully devised scheme, and that the lines, usually 
thirty-two in number, radiate from a number of crossing 
points, systematically distributed over the chart. The 
number of crossing points is not always found to be 
the same, this being frequently determined by the size of 
the sheet. On portolan charts there will usually be 
found a central point of radiation about which, in a 
circle, whose diameter is very nearly the width of the 
sheet, eight or sixteen other crossing points are repre- 
sented, each of which is connected with the centre and 
usually with every other indicated point. On the larger 
sheets, additional crossing points appear, which points, 
it will be observed, also fall into a well-arranged system. 
There was no attempt at a special ornamentation of these 
crossing points in the earlier charts, but with the pass- 
ing years, we find now one, now more, especially designed 
figures for them: wind roses or compass roses these have 
been called. It is in part due to the peculiar design of 
these roses that the name compass chart first came into 
use. While the ornamentation is not always clearly that 
resembling the compass card, it frequently is such, hav- 
ing that point which is directed to the sidereal or true north 
extended as if to represent the magnetic needle, but this 
extension, it will be noted, never indicates the needle's 
declination. Not until 1532 do we find a printed chart 
on which the variation of the compass is represented, this 
being on Ziegler's map of Palestine, and not until 1595 
is this declination represented on a marine chart. It is 
not infrequent that these ornaments are a most striking 


feature of portolan charts, though adding little to their 
scientific value. 

The suggestion has been made that the crossing lines 
were originally intended as construction lines, being laid 
down by the draftsman to guide him in sketching his 
coasts and in locating his places of special geographical 
interest, but so few are the instances which might be 
cited in support of the theory, that one is safe in 
asserting it to have been the rule with chart-makers 
to insert the lines after their charts had been 

In the ancient day, it was a common practice with 
those who had occasion to refer to such matters, to de- 
signate each quarter of the heavens by the wind which 
blew from that quarter. The north was Boreas, the west 
was Zephyrus, and the number of winds, that is, direc- 
tions, at first limited to four, was increased in time to 
eight, then to sixteen. The Italian chart-makers, in 
general, referred to the winds as eight in number, often 
representing them on their charts in the wind or compass 
roses by the first or initial letter of the name. These 
eight winds were Tramontana, the north, represented by 
the needle point = , the northeast Greco = G, the east 
Levante, represented by the Greek cross = HK the south- 
east Scirocco == S, the south Ostro == O, the southwest 
Libeccio = L, the west Ponente = P, the northwest 
Maestro = M. 1 We find herein a suggestion that the 
crossing lines were originally intended to represent the 
direction of the winds, that is, direction. In time, with 
the more general use of the compass, the older practice 
yielded to the newer practice with seamen and direction 
came to be referred to in terms of compass points rather 

1 Vid. Reproduction No. 12 for an excellent illustration. 


than in the names of the winds, as for example, North, 
N by E, NNE, NE by N. 

The information as to geographical details which is 
contained in portolan charts, though not extensive, is of 
much historical interest. It will be observed that the 
coast lines, in general, have been sketched with care, and 
usually are continuous, broken only where rivers are 
represented as emptying into the sea. Bays and head- 
lands, if not accurately inscribed, show that the chart- 
maker must have had before him information which had 
been intelligently collected. In some instances, the coast 
appears as a succession of short curved lines, the result of 
which is to add a feature of ruggedness. Legends are not 
inscribed directing attention to rocks and shoals, but these 
are indicated by small dots or crosses along the coast lines. 

Care seems to have been exercised to have all islands 
represented, and while generally located with a near ap- 
proach to accuracy, they are often found to be much out 
of proportion as to size. 

The technique of portolan charts is by no means 
complex, as the geographical information, especially in 
the earlier charts, is limited to the coast of the main- 
land, or of the islands. Place names are numerous for 
the coast of the Mediterranean alone, the number some- 
times exceeds one thousand and these names, running 
directly inland from the coast, with rare exceptions were 
written in small letters, though for the regional names, 
which were inscribed in the later charts, capitals were 
employed. Since the names run landward from the coast 
lines, it will therefore be noticed, as one examines the 
chart, having the north above, that many of the names 
are inverted. A large majority of the place names are 

in black, but it is a striking feature that many are in 


red, and it is usually the same names so written in the 
several charts. This fact appears to have no other signifi- 
cance than that a certain special importance then attached, 
or at least once attached, to the place entered in red. 

As these charts were intended primarily for the use 
of seamen, there was naturally little occasion for at- 
tention to the geographical features of the interior 
regions. These regions, wanting all reference to physi- 
cal features particularly in the earlier charts, have, 
therefore, a certain prominence by way of contrast, being 
blank save for the crossing lines. With the passing 
years, more and yet more of geographical detail came 
to have representation on inland regions. River courses 
in time were represented, though at first with striking 
inaccuracy: mountain ranges were made to cross certain 
sections, but clearly attesting the want of exact informa- 
tion: important cities were often made more conspicuous 
by means of pictures, 1 but cities represented in the interior 
show a want of knowledge of their exact location. Terri- 
torial boundaries do not appear, but many of the separate 
states bear their respective names, and often in addition 
are distinguished by an appropriate and highly orna- 
mented coat-of-arms. Castile, for example, has the 
quartered field with the castle on a red, and a red lion 
on silver, ground ; Aragon, a red standard in a gold field ; 
Portuguese territory, a banner having five dots in a blue 
field; the Knights of St. John, a silver cross on a red 
ground; Venice, the gold lion of St. Mark on blue 
ground; Turkish territory, a banner displaying the half 
moon; regions remote and unknown, as Tartaria, by a 
ruler on his throne or an elaborately drawn tent. 

1 Vid. For reproduction of picture of Genoa, p. 28, from Bartolomeo 


In addition to the features just described, legends 
were often inserted, where space permitted, referring to 
the products of the region bearing the legend, or to the 
character of the inhabitants of the same. Much of this 
information appears to have been derived from Pliny, 
Solinus, Isidor, or from travellers such as Marco Polo, 
or Nicolo di Conti. Such legends or descriptive records 
are, however, generally confined to the world charts of the 
portolan type which occasionally are to be found in 
portolan atlases, as for example, in the atlas of Bianco 
of 1436 or in such as the Catalan world chart of about 
1450, belonging to the Royal Estense Library of Modena, 
Italy. Now and then one finds the earthly paradise 
represented, as in mediaeval cloister maps. Gog and 
Magog were often located by the chart-makers, as was 
Prester John, properly adorned as a Christian ruler, and 
in the Atlantic we frequently find the so-called fabulous 
islands such as Antillia, Satanaxa, Isla de Man, Brasil, 
St. Brandan. 

Many of the portolan charts are both signed and 
dated, while many are wanting such inscriptions. Where 
author and date legend is given it is usually found in- 
serted on the left of the sheet and is very brief, as, 
" Petrus Roselli composuit hanc cartam in civitate 
Maioricarum anno domini M cccc lx iij." * It is seldom 
easy to determine the exact age of an undated chart, 
remembering that such as are dated frequently contain 
records which clearly indicate carelessness on the part 
of the chart-maker or the influence of tradition, as may 
be seen in the representation of a banner, after the 
authority so indicated in a locality has been overthrown. 
A noted instance of such false record is the representa- 

1 Vid. Reproduction No. 2. 


tion of the cross of the Knights of St. John over the 
island of Rhodes long after that island had fallen into 
the hands of the Turks. It may further be stated that 
one is not always justified in giving to a chart a date 
prior to a known great geographical discovery seeing 
that such event is not recorded. Portolan chart-makers 
were generally inclined to make full use in their own 
records of that which they found at hand. The majority 
of them were loth to break with tradition or to correct 
an error, yet we cannot deny to some of them a place 
of leadership in trans-marine discovery as we find in their 
charts islands laid down far to the west in the Atlantic, 
the insertion of which, though not always resting on 
authentic discovery, unquestionably served to embolden 
such navigators as were eager for the finding of new 

It remains to refer to one of the most attractive fea- 
tures of portolan charts, that is to the colors employed. 
In some of them the work of the miniaturist of the 
period is seen at its best. In the earliest examples color 
was but sparingly used, but with the advancing years 
it became more and more a feature. The compass or 
wind rose, at first simple in character, seemed in time to 
offer to the chart-maker an opportunity to display his 
sense of the artistic, and not infrequently we find roses 
which are very elaborate. Banners to be truthful pre- 
sentations needed color, and they often appear in great 
numbers and in brilliant tones. Much care was fre- 
quently given to drafting designs in which to inscribe 
the scale of miles, or to the addition of a suitable border 
for the chart. The effort to emphasize the importance 
of certain cities led to the addition of fine bits of minia- 
ture work to the chart's decorations. 


As the crossing lines appear at first to want system 
or order in arrangement, but on close examination are 
found to have been laid down in accord with a well- 
devised scheme, so the color as represented in these lines 
and in the compass or wind roses seems at first to have 
been added regardless of rule or of special plan, whereas 
chart-makers were here most careful in the observance 
of rule. 

It may have been, primarily, for practical reasons 
that any color scheme was employed at all for the cross- 
ing lines. From the multitude of these lines confusion 
would have prevailed in the attempt to use the chart were 
the lines of one color. With rare exceptions, it will 
be found that the lines indicating the eight principal, 
winds or directions are in black, the half winds in green, 
and the quarter winds in red. For the colors in the 
several roses or cards, a certain freedom prevailed, espe- 
cially in the case of those of complicated design. Con- 
tinental coast lines were generally colored but lightly, 
though occasionally there was a liberal application of 
green or blue which was often edged with a line of gold. 
The coast lines of the larger islands were usually treated 
as the continental coasts, but smaller islands were en- 
tirely overed with red, blue, silver, or gold, and in the 
case of the smallest of these islands, where numerous, 
the color was applied so as to produce the most artistic 
effect regardless of rule. Of the five or six colors em- 
ployed, red, green, blue, black, gold, yellow, the red 
seems to be the best preserved. 

Seldom was color employed for the larger bodies of 
water, except in the case of the Red Sea, which in- 
variably exhibits the influence of tradition, being colored 
red, while on certain world charts of the portolan type, 


the larger seas and oceans were covered with waving 
blue or green lines, as may be seen in the Catalan chart 
of 1450. 

Such then in origin, character, and importance are 
portolan charts with which modern scientific chart or 
map-making had its beginning. Apparently first con- 
structed in the thirteenth century they multiply rapidly 
throughout the fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth cen- 
turies as before stated, retaining most of the characteristics 
exhibited in earliest examples. Though remarkable for 
their near approach to accuracy, it appears not a little 
surprising that the learned chart-makers of the sixteenth 
century did not in general accept them at their value 
until Ptolemy's maps, by actual astronomical measure- 
ments, had been shown to be inaccurate. With seamen, 
however, these manuscript parchment charts remained in 
favor long after the invention of printing and its use 
in the multiplication of maps and charts. 



Herodotus: History. Vide passages relating to Near- 
chus, Hanno, Scylax, et al. 

Pliny: Natural History, iii-vi. 

Carolus Mullerus [Ed.] : Geographi graeci minores, 
i., pp. 15-96. Vide for the text of Scylax, i., pp. 
427-514, for the text of the Stadiasmos. 

Ptolemy: Vide various editions of his Geography for 
reference to Marinus. 

Nordenskiold : Facsimile Atlas. Stockholm, 1889. 
Vide for a review of Ptolemy's contributions in the 
field of geography, with references to Marinus. 

Nordenskiold: Periplus. Stockholm, 1897. Vide for 
a summary of accounts of early maritime expeditions, 
with extensive extracts from the periploi, also refer- 
ence to portolan charts, their character, standard of 
measurement, legends, with numerous reproductions. 

Uzielli e Amat di S. Filippo: Studi biografici e 
bibliografici sulla storia della geografia in Italia. 
Vol. ii., Roma, 1882. An extensive list of portolan 
charts with brief descriptions. Bibliography, pp. 

Fischer, Th.: Sammlung mittelalterlicher Welt- und 
Seekarten italienischen Ursprungs und aus italien- 
ischen Bibliotheken und Archiven. Venedig, 1886. 
Contains chapters on portolan charts which are 


Kretschmer, K.: Die italienischen Portolane des 
Mittelalters. Berlin, 1909. This contains a sum- 
mary, not unlike that by Nordenskiold in his Peri- 
plus, but is not in all points in agreement with that 
work. It contains the texts of the known portolans, 
with a list of names to be found in portolans and 
portolan charts. An exceedingly valuable work. 

Can ale: Storia de commercio, dei viaggi, delle scoperte 
e carte nautiche degl' Italiani. Genova, 1866. 

Wuttke, H. : Zur Geschichte der Erdkunde im letzten 
Drittel des Mittelalters. Die Karten der seefahren- 
den Volker Siideuropas. Dresden, 1871. 

Lelewel, J.: Geographie du moyen age, accompagnee 
d' Atlas et de Cartes dans chaque Volume. 4 parts. 
Bruxelles, 1852-57. 

Atlas compose de cinquante planches. Bruxelles, 

1850. This published to illustrate the preceding work. 

Santarem: Atlas compose des Cartes des XIV, XV, 
XVI, XVII siecles pour la plupart inedites, et 
devant servir de preuves a l'ouvrage sur la priorite 
de la decouverte de la cote occidentale d'Afrique 
au dela du cap Bojador par les Portugais. Paris, 

Matkovich, P.: Alte handschriftliche Schifferkarten 
in den Bibliotheken zu Venedig. Wien, 1863. 

Luca, G. de: Carte nautiche del medio evo designate 
in Italia. Napoli, 1866. 

Desimoni, C: Intorno ai Cartografi italiani e di loro 
lavori manoscritti e specialmente nautici. Roma, 

Errera, C. : Atlanti e Carte nautiche dal secolo XIV al 
XVII conservati nelle biblioteche pubbliche e private 
di Milano. In Rivista geografica Ital., iii. 1896. 


Maecel, G.: Recueil de Portulans. Reproduction 

Choix de cartes et de mappemondes des XIV, XV 

siecles. 1896. 
Raccolta di Mappamondi e carte nautiche del XIII al 

XVI secolo [Ongania], Venezia. Seventeen charts 

are reproduced in photograph. 
Stevenson, E. L. : Marine World Chart of Nicolo de 

Canerio Januensis. New York, 1908. 
More than five hundred portolan charts and atlases 
are referred to by Uzielli e Amat which are to be found 
in fifty-four public and private libraries. Referring only 
to the larger collections, it may be mentioned that ninety- 
five of these charts and atlases are to be found in Venice, 
the majority of them belonging to the Biblioteca Mar- 
ciana, and the Museo Civico; sixty-six are to be found in 
Florence, chiefly in the Archivo di Stato and the Biblioteca 
Nazionale ; fifty-two are listed as belonging to the British 
Museum; twenty-six belonging to the Biblioteca Nazion- 
ale of Naples; seventeen to the Bibliotheque Nationale 
of Paris; seventeen to the Archivo del Collegio di Pro- 
paganda in Rome; sixteen to the Biblioteca Ambrosiana 
of Milan. In the other collections designated the number 
varies from one to fifteen. Comparatively few portolan 
charts and atlases are to be found in the libraries of the 
United States. The largest collection is that belonging 
to The Hispanic Society of America, in which there are 
thirty-two, the great majority of which are here described 
for the first time. In the Edward E. Ayer collection 
of the Newberry Library of Chicago, there are twenty- 
one; in the Library of Congress three, and in the John 
Carter Brown Library of Providence there are two re- 
markably fine atlases. 


1. GIACOMO GIROLDI [Probable], early 15th 


A portolan chart of the early fifteenth century, 53 x 92 
cm. in size. Neither the author nor the exact date can 
be determined with certainty. It contains, however, 
numerous features which suggest that it is the work of 
the above-named author and its date cannot be far from 
1425. [Fischer, Sammlung Mittelalterlicher Welt- und 
Seekarten, pp. 153-154.] One other portolan chart by 
Giacomo is known, dated 1422, which may be found in the 
National Library of Paris, and three of his atlases bearing 
dates, respectively, 1426 [reproduced in photograph by On- 
gania], 1443, and 1446. This particular chart is here first 
described. It includes the Mediterranean, together with 
the Black Sea, the Atlantic coast of Europe to Fries- 
land, the British Islands, and the coast of Africa from 
Gibraltar to Cape Cantin. The chart is crossed by the 
usual lines, having two complete systems of crossing 
points, with sixteen points in each group. The centre 
of the group on the right is in the iEgean Sea, that on 
the left near San Sebastian in Spain. On both the upper 
and the lower border a scale of miles is given. The faint 
indication of a scale on the right, where the tongue ex- 
tension appears, should not be considered as representing 
degrees of latitude. 


Color has been sparingly used, and compass roses, as 
well as miniature representation of cities, are wanting. 
The place names seem to be identical with those given 
in Nordenskiold's Periplus, pp. 25-44, which names have 
been taken from Giacomo Giroldi's atlas of 1426. A 
striking agreement between this chart and the atlas of 
1426 may be seen in the physical features of the interior 
regions which are represented. 

In central and eastern Europe the Danube, the 
Dneister, Dnieper, the Rhine, the Rhone, appear, each of 
which is represented as having its source in a lake, also 
the Seine, the Scheldt, the Maas in northern France, 
the Guadalquivir in Spain, and the Nile in Africa. 

With the exception of a few water stains, the chart 
is well preserved. * 


A portolan chart of the year 1468. In size it is 
58 x 90 cm. It is a chart of the Catalan type, and 
exceedingly important on account of its age, and of its 
geographical and other details. On the upper left of the 
parchment appears the inscription, " Petrus Roselli com- 
posuit hanc cartam in civitate Maioricarum anno domini 
M cccc lx iij." 

Roselli belonged to a famous school of Majorcan carto- 
graphers. In addition to this chart, hitherto apparently 
unknown, four other charts of his may be mentioned, one 
bearing date 1447, one apparently dated 1462, one dated 
1446, and one of the year 1465. The chart has numerous 
radiating lines, and two small compass roses. A very un- 
usual and interesting feature for a chart of this character 
is the representation of the winds by four wind-heads. 

It includes the Mediterranean, and the Black Sea, 


the whole of Europe except Russia and the Scandina- 
vian region, the north coast of Africa, the Canary, the 
Madeira, and the Azores Islands. In the Atlantic there 
are numerous fabulous islands including " brazil," " ilia 
de moni " [Man], " antilia," " tamar." These islands 
are located as in Bianco's chart of 1436, Pareto's chart 
of 1455, and in Benincasas' chart of 1482. 

The details which are inscribed in the interior regions 
are very numerous. Across the north of Africa stretches 
the Atlas range of mountains; the Alps are represented 
in Europe; the Carpathian in Austro-Hungary ; the 
Sierra Nevada in Spain, and Mt. Sinai in northwestern 
Arabia. The larger cities are distinguished by groups 
of turrets and banners, eleven of which are in Africa; 
six are in Europe on a river evidently intended for the 
Danube; Venice and Genoa are given their usual prom- 
inence, and a conspicuous line of cities is represented 
in the Baltic region. The tents in the interior of Africa 
give a rather undue prominence to the rulers of that 
section. On the north coast of Africa are numerous 
Mohammedan banners; on the west coast are those of 
Portugal; the Papal banner flies over Avignon; those 
of Castile and Aragon give prominence to Spain. Such 
decorations as these are particularly numerous on other 
parts of the chart. An interesting survival from early 
Christian centuries is the idea of giving to the Red Sea 
a color appropriate to its name, and this idea, together 
with the representation at its northern extremity of the 
crossing place of the Israelites, finds expression on most 
of the portolan charts which include that region. 

Roselli drew much of his information from charts of 

the previous century. It is especially interesting to find 

that there are numerous features resembling the Catalan 


chart of 1375. Though the map is somewhat stained 
and torn, its colors are well preserved, and its geo- 
graphical nomenclature, with few exceptions, can be 
easily read. 

3. NICOLAUS de NICOLO, 1470. 

A well-drawn parchment chart of the year 1470, in 
size 65 x 101 cm. In the tongue of the sheet, which 
in this instance is on the right, appears the author legend, 
" Nicolaus de Nicolo M. cccclxx." Nothing appears to 
be known concerning this chart-maker, who probably 
was a native of Venice, other than is contained in this 
one example of his work. In 1882, according to 
Nordenskiold, it belonged to Count Pietro Gradenigo. 

It includes the east coast of Italy and Sicily, the 
Adriatic, the iEgean, the Dardanelles, the Sea of Mar- 
mora, the Bosphorus, and the southwest coast of the 
Black Sea, with the west coast of Asia Minor. It is 
drawn in large scale, has neither compass roses nor scale 
of miles, though the usual sixteen crossing points with 
the connecting lines appear. The islands of the Adriatic 
are made especially prominent, and the lagoons of Venice 
have been inscribed with great care. None of the cities 
have been distinguished by picture, nor do regional names 

The chart is well preserved, though slightly torn on 
the edges, and is an excellent specimen of early Italian 

4. ANONYMOUS CHART, late 15th century. 

A portolan chart of the fifteenth century, 57 x 91 
cm. in size. 


Though its author, probably of the city of Venice, is 
unknown, there is the suggestion in some of its details 
that it may be the work of Petrus Roselli, as in the re- 
presentation of the Jordan and other features of that 
eastern region. Compass lines are numerous, but com- 
pass roses are wanting. On the upper and on the lower 
border a scale of miles is represented. The chart in- 
cludes the Black Sea, a part of the Red Sea, and the 
Mediterranean as far west as the Balearic Islands, which 
region lies in the tongue extension on the left. The 
coasts are colored, as are also the islands; Rhodes has 
the cross of the Knights of St. John. Flags and ban- 
ners are numerous. Some of the important cities, as 
Venice, Rome, Belgrade on the Danube, Damascus, Jeru- 
salem, and Cairo are represented by interesting colored 

Mt. Sinai is inscribed as an important locality on 
which is placed the Monastery of St. Catharine. The 
Danube is laid down as a river flowing directly east- 
ward, having several large islands at its mouth. The 
Jordan, having its source in a mountain, topped with a 
castle and a banner, flows through two lakes. 

The names are well written, as is usual in red and 
black, being in Italian and occasionally in the Venetian 
dialect. It is well preserved, except in parts of its 

5. VESCONTE de MAIOLO, 1512. 

A portolan chart of the year 1512, having the very 
common tongue extension. It is 55 x 90 cm. in size. 
In the upper corner on the left is a characteristic inscrip- 
tion, " Vesconte de Maiolo composuy hanc cartam in 


Neapoli de anno doi 1512 die 11 jany," near which 
author legend is a well-executed miniature of the Virgin 
and Child. 

Vesconte de Maiolo belonged to a distinguished Ital- 
ian family of chart-makers whose work has been pre- 
served in numerous examples. Fourteen single charts 
and atlases are known to have been made by Vesconte 
from 1504 to 1549. His world chart of 1527, original 
in the Ambrosiana, Milan, has been issued by this Society 
in colors of the original, and was included as No. 10 in 
a facsimile atlas of charts illustrating early discovery and 
exploration in America, issued by the author of this paper. 

This chart of 1512, according to Nordenskiold, be- 
longed in 1882 to Count Pietro Gradenigo of Venice. 

It includes the entire Mediterranean, the Black Sea, 
the Atlantic coast of Spain from Gibraltar to Cape 
Finisterre, the coasts of Africa as far south as Cape 
Bojador, with the Madeira and Canary Islands. 

Compass roses are small and are not numerous. On 
the upper and on the lower border, a scale of miles is 
drawn. Continental coast lines are colored, as are most 
of the islands, Rhodes being marked with the cross of the 
Knights of St. John. 

The several countries are designated by appropriate 

flags. Cities, distinguished by pictures, are numerous, 

among which Barcelona, Valencia, and Lisbon appear 

in Spain; Avignon has the papal coat-of-arms, and 

Genoa south of the Alps, is made especially prominent, 

being the native place of Maiolo. Six cities are located 

on the Danube River, which is represented as rising in 

a mountain in Central Europe, five are in northern 

Africa, and in Palestine Jerusalem is appropriately 

represented with an elaborate church edifice topped with 


a Christian banner. Additional interior physical fea- 
tures are the Atlas Mountains stretching across the north 
of Africa with striking colors of green and red, and the 
Sierra Nevada in Spain. The Nile, the Rhone, and the 
Danube rivers are all distinctly drawn, though not 

The names are in red and black and are in the Italian 

The chart is well preserved, being injured only in 
certain parts of the border. 


A portolan chart of the year 1524, being 39 x 60 cm. in 
size. It is attached to a wooden roller, and has marks 
of nails in the margin which suggest that it may at one 
time have been fastened to the walls of a ship's cabin. 

On the extreme left is the author legend, " m. vgo. 
Conde Hoctomanno Freducci de Ancona la fatta nel 

According to Uzielli e Amat, it once belonged to the 
Marquis Girolamo di Colloredo in Udine. It contains 
the usual sixteen crossing points with the radiating lines, 
but is without compass roses. 

In the extension of the sheet to the left is given the 
scale of miles. It has neither degrees of latitude nor 
longitude indicated. 

The chart contains the Black Sea, the northern part 
of the Red Sea, with the usual representations, and the 
Mediterranean as far west as the Balearic Islands. Con- 
tinental coasts are colored, as are most of the islands. 

The cross of the Knights of St. John covers the 
island of Rhodes. Coast names are remarkably well 


written, and exquisite miniatures of Venice, Damascus, 
Jerusalem, Mt. Sinai with the Convent of St. Catharine 
having a subscribed legend, and Cairo adorn the chart. 
A few rivers are represented emptying into the Black 
Sea; the Nile delta has been made prominent, and in 
Palestine the Jordan River and lakes are inscribed, to 
the east of which is a range of mountains, each peak 
having a name. 

Aside from a few water stains, and slightly torn 
margins, the chart is in excellent condition. 


An atlas of five portolan charts drawn on parchment, 
and mounted on pasteboard. Each chart is 35 x 45 cm. 
in size. 

It has an excellent pigskin binding with a title in 
gold stamped on the front of the cover, " Portolano m. s. 
16th century." 

The author was a distinguished Italian, and appears 
to have been a very productive chart-maker, as no less 
than eight of his atlases are known, and at least five of 
his single-sheet charts. 

On the left of chart four is the legend, " Yhs ma vgo. 
Conte de Otho mafio. Freducci, de Ancona, la fatte nel 
ano M. cccccxxx7." This atlas, according to Nordens- 
kiold, first became known in 1882, at which time it was 
the property of Luigi Arrigoni of Milan. 

The sixteen crossing points arranged in a circle about 
a central crossing, together with the lines which radiate 
from each point and connect it with every other point 
save the two on its immediate right and left, give to 
each chart a very attractive appearance. Each of the 


five charts has what appears to be a scale of miles marked 
across each of its four corners, and one compass rose 
has been drawn on chart three. The borders of the con- 
tinents are colored, and are represented as a series of 
large and small curves; islands are red, green, blue, or 
gold; the nomenclature is in Italian, and written in red 
or black. Turreted buildings which represent cities are 
exceedingly numerous, but are small, and are sketched 
very artistically. 

1. Chart one represents a section of the coast of 
Spain, with the coast of Africa from Gibraltar to a 
point near the mouth of the Senegal, and the Madeira, 
Canary, and Azores Islands. Near the parallel of the 
Canary Islands, and somewhat inland, is a legend of 
some length. The Azores, the Madeira, and the Canary 
Islands are practically located on the same meridian. 
The island of Lancillotto, which is at the centre of the 
circle of radiating points, has the Genoese cross con- 
spicuously marked. 

2. Chart two represents the Atlantic coast of Europe 
from Gibraltar to Holland, including also in the north 
England, Scotland, and Ireland, with numerous small 
islands, among them " Yxola de till," " Montorius," and 
" isola de man," and to the west of Spain the Azores 
Islands. England, Scotland, and Ireland are dis- 
tinguished by regional names artistically drawn. Across 
Ireland is written a legend as if to explain the signifi- 
cance of a great bay on the west, which is thickly studded 
with small islands: " Lacus fortunatus ubi sunt insule que 
dicunt incule sec beate n ccclxxij." 

3. Chart three represents the western Mediterranean 

with the island of Majorca placed at the centre, and 

otherwise made conspicuous by its color. Coast names 



are exceedingly numerous, with an unusual number of 
names in the Balearic group of islands. The one com- 
pass rose of the atlas is to be found on this chart in 
northern Africa. 

4. Chart four includes the Mediterranean from a 
meridian slightly to the east of Sardinia to the extreme 
western coast of Asia Minor. The region represented 
is very striking by reason of its details, a fact especially 
to be noted of the iEgean Sea. Along the border on 
the right appears the author legend quoted above. 

5. Chart five includes the eastern Mediterranean 
and the Black Sea, with the bordering regions. Rhodes 
is conspicuously marked with the cross of the Knights 
of St. John, and Cairo, though not designated by name, 
is represented by a large group of buildings stretching 
along the Nile. 

The atlas is remarkably well preserved. 

8. ANONYMOUS, first half of 16th century. 

A chart of the first half of the sixteenth century, 
47 x 74 cm. in size. Though its authorship cannot be 
determined, it may be referred to as an excellent example 
of Catalan or Spanish draftsmanship, having its nomen- 
clature in the language of eastern Spain. 

While clearly belonging to the sixteenth century, it 
is based very largely on fifteenth-century originals. 

Compass roses are few and are very simple in 

In addition to the crossing lines running diagonally 
over the sheet, there are lines which cross at right angles, 
apparently drawn to represent latitude and longitude, at 
intervals of eight or ten degrees. These lines, however, 


are not designated as graduation lines. Four scales of 
miles are indicated without special ornamentation. 

The chart includes the entire Mediterranean, the 
Black Sea, and a part of the Red Sea, which is colored 
red, having at its northern extremity the crossing place 
of the Israelites indicated, the Atlantic coast of the 
Iberian peninsula southward from Cape Finisterre, and 
a very limited section of the coast of Africa. Regional 
names are omitted, but in each of the continents the 
largest cities are especially distinguished in picture, as 
Genoa, and Cairo which is called Babelonia. The colored 
flags and banners inscribed are especially numerous, in- 
cluding the papal banner over Avignon, though not over 
Rome, the Spanish banner over Spain, Mohammedan ban- 
ners in Africa and the East, the cross of the Knights 
of St. John over Rhodes, but not over Malta. Christian 
powers are represented as holding sway over a part of 
the Balkan peninsula, Asia Minor, and the coast of the 
Black Sea. 

The Sierra Nevada Mountains in Spain are especially 
conspicuous, being the only interior physical features 

9. ANONYMOUS, early 16th century. 

A parchment sheet of the early sixteenth century, 
48 x 82 cm. in size. Though its author is unknown, it 
clearly is of Italian origin, the nomenclature being in 
the language of the peninsula. 

On the left is the tongue extension, apparently used for 
hanging the chart, on which extension is a miniature 
picture of Christ on the cross. Graduation is not indi- 
cated, but on the upper and on the lower borders a scale 


of miles is drawn, each in an elaborately ornamented 

The chart includes the entire Mediterranean, the 
Black Sea, and the Atlantic coast, beginning at Cape 
Finisterre, and terminating at a point near eight degrees 
down the coast of Africa. The coast lines, drawn with 
a pen, are colored, as are the rivers. As is usual in such 
charts, most of the names are in black, but many are 
in red. 

Fifteen compass roses of different sizes and designs 
are drawn, and are connected by the crossing lines. 
The three continents are each designated by name, which 
name is written in a scroll. Pictures of cities, flags and 
banners are wanting, Jerusalem or Palestine being dis- 
tinguished by the representation of a mountain (Gol- 
gotha) with three crosses. Over the islands of Rhodes 
and Malta the cross of the order of St. John is repre- 
sented. The chart is well preserved, being torn but 
slightly on the border, through which nails have been 
driven, perhaps for attaching it to the walls of a pilot's 

10. ANONYMOUS, early 16th century. 

A portolan atlas bound in pasteboard cover, contain- 
ing three charts of the early sixteenth century. Each 
chart is 37 x 57 cm. in size. 

Neither the author nor the date is known. Judging 
in particular from the character of the ornamentation, 
it seems to be a French work [vid. No. 22]. The 
nomenclature is French, Spanish, and Italian. The 
writing is in rather an unusual running style. Very 
much of available space is covered with elaborate scroll 


and feather designs in brilliant colors. Compass roses 
are numerous, but are not elaborate. Degrees of 
latitude are indicated on chart one, not on a meridian, 
but in three sections, with that section on the extreme 
left indicating degrees from the twenty-second parallel 
to the thirty-first, the next section near the coast of 
Spain from the thirty-first to the forty-fourth parallel, 
and the third section some distance to the west of the 
coast of Ireland from parallel forty-four to fifty-eight. 

1. Chart one includes the Atlantic coast regions 
from Holland " Olanda " to a point near Cape Verde, 
with the British Islands, the Azores, the Madeira, and 
the Canary Islands, and the Mediterranean to the Gulf 
of Genoa. 

The regional names include " Europa," " Olanda," 
"Irland," " Iscotia," " Inglaterr," "France," " Spag- 
nia," " Africa," " Barbaria." In the Atlantic to the 
west of Spain is the legend, " L'ocean occidental," and 
near it an elaborate ornament containing a shield with 
the French lily topped with a royal crown. In Spain 
is the Spanish shield with the imperial double eagle. 
Much attention was given to the ornamentation of the 

2. Chart two includes the iEgean with the border- 
ing coasts. The names " Natolia," " Candia," " Morea," 
" Grecia," " Romania " are inscribed. The sheet is 
somewhat injured by water stain. 

3. Chart three includes the entire Mediterranean, 
and, like the preceding, is over-decorated. " Europa," 
" Asia," " Africa," " Barbaria " are inscribed. The chart 
is much faded. 

The atlas is not one of great value; though contain- 
ing practically all that may be found in the better Italian 


portolan charts of the period, it was apparently designed 
for display rather than for use. 

11. BAPTISTA AGNESE, early 16th century. 

A portolan atlas of the first half of the sixteenth 
century, containing fourteen charts preceded by repre- 
sentations of coats-of-arms and astronomical tables. Each 
page is 28 x 41 cm. in size. 

The atlas is neither signed nor dated, but the work- 
manship is so strikingly characteristic of Baptista Agnese 
that one can hardly be in error in ascribing it to him. 
Its date cannot be far from 1545. Agnese was a prolific 
chart-maker, many of whose atlases are extant. He ex- 
hibited remarkable skill as a draftsman and miniaturist, 
and held a foremost place among the Italian chart-makers 
of his time. His work, however, appears to have been 
done rather for the libraries of princes than for the use 
of mariners. 

The atlas is one of his largest, containing not 
only those charts which usually are to be found in 
his atlases, but certain important additions as Nos. thir- 
teen and fourteen. 

The several charts have retained their brilliant colors, 
with blue coast outlines, and with the numerous small 
islands in red, blue, or gold. Interior regions on some 
of the charts contain numerous vignettes and figures, 
with far more than the usual references to geographical 
features, though having withal numerous and curious 

Page two of the atlas contains two coats-of-arms 
similar in general design, with a third on page three of 
like character. Declination tables are given on page 


four, an armillary sphere is artistically sketched on page 
five, and on pages six and seven the circle of the zodiac 
with the several signs very artistically designed. 

1. Chart one, occupying double pages, as do all the 
charts, being in size within the narrow black border line 
35 x 50 cm., includes the Pacific Ocean, with America on 
the right, and on the left a small section of the coast of 
Asia, with the " insule Maluche." The Atlantic coast 
of America is represented from Labrador to the Strait 
of Magellan, with an omission on the extreme east of 
Brazil. The Pacific coast includes Lower California and 
the Gulf of California which is colored red, thence it 
extends southward to about latitude 12, omitting the 
remaining section of the coast to the Strait of Magellan. 
Degrees of latitude and longitude are indicated, as are 
also the tropics and the equator. In the centre of the 
chart is a combined compass and wind rose encircled 
with the sixteen crossing points from which the usual 
thirty-two lines radiate. 

2. Chart two includes the Atlantic Ocean with 
Africa, a part of Asia and of Europe on the right, and 
on the left the east coast of North America, the east 
and west coast of South America, omitting the Pacific 
coast from latitude 12 to the Strait of Magellan. The 
nomenclature is very rich, both for the Old and for 
the New World, and is remarkably well preserved. The 
chart contains the crossing lines, degrees of latitude and 
longitude as in chart one. 

3. Chart three includes the Indian Ocean, with the 
African coast from the Gulf of Guinea eastward, and 
the southern Asiatic coast to China. The general fea- 
tures of the chart are the same as are represented in the 


4. Chart four includes the greater part of the con- 
tinent of Europe with Scandinavia on the northern 
border, the Baltic, the British Islands, the coast of 
France, the north coast of Spain, northern Italy, and 
the Dalmatian coast. There are numerous fine minia- 
ture representations of kings on their thrones. Numerous 
rivers are represented in heavy blue lines, though with 
little care for accuracy, and the mountains of southern 
Europe from the Pyrenees to the Balkan peninsula are 
inscribed. Numerous regional names appear. The fea- 
tures of chart one are included, omitting indications of 
latitude and longitude. 

5. Chart five includes the Spanish peninsula, with 
northwest Africa, the Balearic, the Madeira, and the 
Canary Islands. Numerous cities in picture, and rivers 
in heavy blue lines are represented in Spain. The Atlas 
range of mountains is represented in northern Africa. 
The chart has the usual crossing lines, but no indication 
of degrees of latitude or longitude. 

6. Chart six represents the Mediterranean region 
from the west coast of Greece to Gibraltar. It contains 
the usual portolan chart features. It is slightly water- 
stained, but all names can be read with ease. 

7. Chart seven represents the eastern Mediterranean 
from Sicily to Palestine, with the south coast of the Black 
Sea and the northern section of the Red Sea, which is 
colored red. The island of Rhodes still retains the cross 
of the Knights of St. John. 

8. Chart eight represents the Black Sea with the 
coast line in blue, except that of the Crimea, which 
is colored green. The chart is remarkably clean and 

9. Chart nine represents Italy with the Adriatic 


coast of Dalmatia. This chart differs greatly from the 
preceding, the author attempting to produce not only 
a sea chart but a land map as well. The entire surface 
is covered with a pale-yellow color shading to light green. 
Mountain ranges are especially conspicuous. The Po 
River with its numerous branches fills the low plain of 
northern Italy. The Tiber and the Arno rivers have 
a source in the same lake. Sicily, Sardinia, and Corsica 
are very prominent. 

10. Chart ten represents the iEgean Sea as it ap- 
pears in most portolan atlases. The island of Rhodes 
is conspicuous with the red ground and the gold cross. 
Other large islands have the entire surface either green, 
red, or gold. Crete has a city with harbor prominently 
marked on the north coast. 

11. Chart eleven is a world chart including prac- 
tically the same as may be found in Nos. one, two, and 
three. The whole of the north of Europe is, however, 
represented with the Scandinavian peninsula stretching 
off to northward. There are five compass or wind 
roses, and the usual arrangement of crossing lines. The 
tropics and the equator are represented, but graduation 
is wanting. 

12. Chart twelve is a characteristic Agnese world 
chart, oblong in shape, having the equatorial diameter 
nearly twice that of the polar. Fifteen parallels are 
represented and twenty-four curved meridians. It is 
more or less a conventional world chart, since the author 
clearly made little effort to be strictly accurate. Nu- 
merous regional names are inscribed, and a few interior 
geographical features appear, as mountains in Asia, 
" Mons luna " in Africa, the Pyrenees in Spain, and the 
Andes in northern South America. There are also 


numerous rivers, as the Nile, the Indus, the Ganges, the 
Volga, the Danube, and, in the New World, the Amazon 
and the La Plata. Magellan's route is indicated, as is 
also the route from Spain to Peru, crossing the New 
World at Panama. Twelve artistic wind heads are 
arranged about the chart, each wind having its appropri- 
ate name. Compass roses as well as crossing lines are 

13. Chart thirteen represents Palestine. Like Nos. 
nine and fourteen, it is both a marine and a land chart. 
It has a ground color of very light yellow shading to 
green, though the color has not been evenly applied. 
Mountain ranges and isolated mountain peaks are very 
numerous, and are made especially conspicuous. The 
several towns and villages are each represented by an 
artistic vignette, and Jerusalem appears as a group of 
buildings surrounded with a wall. The Jordan River 
and the lakes are colored blue, and are much magnified 
in size. As drawn, it places the east at the top of the 
sheet, though a compass rose is inscribed, which indicates 
the north. 

14. Chart fourteen includes the Scandinavian pen- 
insula with the Atlantic islands to the northwest and the 
west, and with the Baltic Sea and its neighboring re- 
gions to south and east. The chart has the same ground 
color as Nos. nine and thirteen. There are numerous 
artistic representations of rulers on their thrones. Two 
well-drawn ships sail the Atlantic waters, and a sea 
monster appears off the Norway coast. Very small and 
artistically- drawn buildings representing cities and towns 
are numerous. One wind head is represented at the 
north, but all crossing lines are omitted. The chart is 
slightly water-stained at the top. 


12. BARTOLOMEO OLIVO, after 1550. 

This portolan chart of the sixteenth century is 86 cm. 
in length by 51 cm. in width. 

Its author was a member of the famous Oliva family 
of Majorca. On this chart his name is inscribed in the 
upper left corner, " Olivo mallorqin En. Palermo Alio 
1520." The last three figures are inscribed over an 
erasure, and only the figure 1 is the original. We find 
here one of the numerous attempts at date forgery. 
Sometimes for a specific reason, generally to give a ficti- 
tious value to a chart, a date is found altered to one 
earlier, often to one later. While the argument is not 
conclusive, it appears to have been drawn after 1526, as 
the cross of the Order of St. John appears on the island 
of Malta, and perhaps near 1581, as the Spanish flag 
alone appears on the Iberian peninsula, whereas on 
Domingo Olives' chart of 1568 Lisbon is likewise so 
distinguished, by a Portuguese banner. 

Compass roses are numerous, and elaborate, and it 
is interesting to observe that the central crossing is in 
Sicily. On the western border is a representation of 
Christ on the cross. The scale of miles is indicated 
twice at the top, and twice at the bottom of the chart. 
Here we also have it distinctly indicated that the same 
scale was not used for the Atlantic coast that was used 
for that of the Mediterranean. Degrees of latitude are 
marked on a meridian passing about five degrees west 
of the coast of Spain. 

The chart includes the Mediterranean, the Red and 
the Black Seas, the Atlantic coast region as far north 
as Holland, with England, Scotland, and Ireland, and 
the African coast to Cape Bojador. The author has not 


^ r . '-' ; 3. ' : <n.rJ;> ;> 


given a colored border to his continental coasts, but has 
added color liberally to his islands. The three continents 
are distinguished by names ; cities especially distinguished 
by picture are numerous both along the coasts and in- 
land; numerous river courses are shown, though not from 
accurate information. An ocean monster appears to the 
southwest of Ireland, and in Africa, the ostrich, the lion, 
the camel, and the elephant are well represented. 

The chart is well preserved, being only slightly torn 
on its borders. 

18. HIERONYMO GIRIVA, after 1550. 

A portolan chart with pasteboard cover of the second 
half of the sixteenth century. It is 33 x 65 cm. in size. 
It is neither signed nor dated, but internal evidence sug- 
gests that it is the work of Giriva. On the interior of 
the front cover has been pasted the engraved book-plate 
of Conde de Vislahermosa. The chart includes the Medi- 
terranean with a very small section of the Black Sea 
coast, and the Atlantic coast from " lisbona " to Cape 

Compass roses are numerous, being inscribed at most 
of the sixteen crossing points. The central rose is placed 
in the island of Sicily. In each of the four corners a 
scale of miles is drawn in a waving scroll ornament. In 
the upper corner on the left is a representation of Christ 
on the cross. Eleven cities are distinguished by minia- 
ture pictures, including " lisbona " and " barselona " in 
Spain. Over each appears an appropriate banner. 
Mountains are represented in northern Africa, and Gol- 
gotha with the three crosses. A few of the important 

rivers are represented in their lower courses, as the Nile, 


the Rhone, the Guadalquivir. The chart is well pre- 
served, but the decorative work is not that of a first-class 


A portolan chart of the year 1552, in size 49 x 75 cm. 

On the left is the author legend, " Bartolomeo olives 
maijorq; 1552," and in the tongue extension a miniature 
of the Virgin and Child. 

Bartolomeo was one of the most distinguished mem- 
bers of the Majorcan family of Oliva, which family has 
a place of prominence among early chart-makers. A 
large number of his charts are recorded by Uzielli e Amat, 
and by Nordenskiold. Compass or wind roses are 
numerous at the crossing points, five of which are large 
and beautifully executed. In each of these the initial 
letters for the eight winds appear, beginning at the north 
with the needle point <A> thence to the right about the 
circle G = NE; >fr == E; S = SE; O = S; L 
SW; P = W; M = NW. Twice on the upper and 
twice on the lower border the scale of miles is inscribed. 

The chart includes the Mediterranean, the Black Sea, a 
section of the Red Sea with the crossing-place of the Israel- 
ites indicated, and the Atlantic coast from Cape Finisterre 
to Cape Nun. Seven cities are represented in picture, 
Venice, Genoa, and Cartagena being especially prominent, 
and the banners are very numerous. Interior physical 
features inscribed include the Sierra Nevada Mountains, 
very conspicuous in southern Spain, Mount Sinai topped 
with the Convent of St. Catharine, also the Nile, the 
Danube, and the Rhine rivers, with the numerous others 
distinctly indicated in their lower courses. 


The chart is remarkably well preserved, having only 
its margin on the right slightly torn. 

15. GIOVANNI MARTINES, after 1560. 

A portolan atlas of seven charts, 18 x 25 cm. in size, 
bound in dark leather. Each chart, however, occupying 
two pages, is 24 x 34 cm., including a plain narrow red 
border. Across the upper part of chart one is the author 
legend, " Joan Martines en Messina any 1562," the figure 
2 being written in after an erasure. It is hardly prob- 
able the date as it appears is correct, though it doubtless 
is one of his earlier atlases, the oldest hitherto described 
being dated 1567. He was one of the foremost chart- 
makers of his day, there being extant a considerable 
number of single charts and atlases bearing his name. 
On the back of the front cover are the words in gold 
" Carta Navigatoria," and on both front and back the 
outline design for a coat-of-arms, with the letters M. 
P. G., the initial letters of a former owner, " Michele 
Petrocochino del quondam Georgio." Fifteen pages of 
manuscript in Italian and written in a bold hand, relat- 
ing to astronomy and geography, have been bound in 
with the charts. 

The several charts have the usual characteristics of 
the type. Coast lines are in gold, or in blue and gold. 
A few minor geographical features are represented, as 
regional names, and the lower courses of rivers. Each 
chart, except the first, has a scale of miles, and at least 
one compass rose. 

1. Chart one represents the world in two hemi- 
spheres, each having an equatorial diameter of 167 mm. 
and a polar diameter of 165 mm. Meridians and paral- 


lels are drawn at intervals of fifteen degrees. Coast lines 
are in gold, and numerous original names appear in both 
the Old and the New World. The Strait of Anian 
(Bering) is represented, which name appears in north- 
east Asia. The great austral continent " terra incog- 
nita " is sketched in outline. It is a chart to which much 
interest attaches. 

2. Chart two includes the southern coast of the 
Spanish peninsula, the west coast of Africa to about 
latitude 15 north, with the Madeira and the Canary 
Islands. On this and succeeding charts three crossing 
points and three only are represented, from which thirty- 
two lines radiate. One of these points is located at the 
centre, one at the right of this, and one at the left, but 
all are on the same parallel or line crossing the chart 
from east to west. 

3. Chart three includes the northwest coast of 
Europe, with England, Scotland, and Ireland well 
represented. The names are numerous and well 

4. Chart four includes the south coast of Ireland 
and England with the coast of Holland, France, and 
northern Spain. 

5. Chart five includes the Mediterranean from the 
eastern coast of Spain to the west coast of Greece, also 
the Balearic Islands, Corsica, Sardinia, and Sicily, 
with a small section of the extreme north coast of 
Africa. On this chart the names are particularly 

6. Chart six includes the JEgean and the eastern 

7. Chart seven includes the Black Sea drawn in 

large scale. 


16. JAUME OLIVES, 1563. 

This atlas of six charts dated 1563 is 19 x 23 cm. in 
size, though each chart, occupying double pages, measures 
23 x 36 cm. 

It has an excellent leather binding, with the entire 
front and back of the cover very artistically decorated 
with contemporary tooling. 

It is a characteristic bit of work of a very distinguished 
member of the Majorcan family Oliva, which family had 
numerous representatives in the ranks of the early chart- 
makers. On the last double page appears the inscription, 
" Jaume oliues mallorchi en napoli any 1563." 

All names have been inscribed with great care, partly 
in Italian and partly in Catalan. The usual portolan 
chart colors have been employed all of which are well 
preserved. From a central point on each chart thirty- 
two lines radiate with one exception, all other lines having 
been omitted. It is interesting to find that on the last 
double page a very large compass rose has been drawn 
filling almost the entire sheet, and on the first double 
page a circle has been drawn with the radiating lines, 
suggesting that the author had intended these as construc- 
tion lines for a chart which had never been drawn. Coast 
lines, in most instances have been colored, to which has 
been added a gilt border. There are numerous miniature 
representations of cities and banners on each of the 
charts. With the exception of sheet five, a part of which 
has been cut away, the atlas is remarkably well preserved. 

1. Chart one represents the eastern Mediterranean, 

omitting the Levantine coast. Chios and Rhodes have 

the Christian cross while all the banners represented are 

the Mohammedan. The chart has the thirty-two radiating 


lines and instead of a wind or compass rose it has the 
usual initial letters for the eight principal winds properly 
placed near the border of the sheet, which arrangement is 
very unusual. 

2. Chart two includes the Atlantic coast from " c. 
finisterr " to " c. blancho " with the Canary and the 
Madeira Islands. 

3. Chart three includes the western coast of Europe 
from " cartagena " to " dascie " on the North Sea coast, 
with a small section of the northwest coast of Africa, also 
England, Scotland which is separated from the former 
by a strait, and Ireland. There is a central compass rose 
from which thirty-two lines radiate. Three cities are es- 
pecially distinguished in the Iberian peninsula, each with 
picture and banner. 

4. Chart four represents the western Mediterranean 
from Sicily to the Strait of Gibraltar. The Spanish, 
Papal, and Mohammedan banners are prominent features 
of the chart, and the city of Genoa is made especially 
conspicuous in picture. 

5. Chart five represents the middle Mediterranean 
region, including the Adriatic and the iEgean Seas. 
This chart has been somewhat mutilated on the upper 
or northern section. 

6. Chart six represents the Black Sea and the ex- 
treme eastern Mediterranean coast. In the centre is a 
compass rose from which thirty lines only radiate. 
"Banners are numerous, most of which are Mohammedan. 

17. JAUME OLIVES, 1566. 

A portolan chart of the year 1566, rectangular in 
shape, and in size 46 x 69 cm. On the upper left ap- 


pears the Madonna and Child resting in the clouds, near 
this picture a lion, which is represented as tearing an 
animal in pieces, underneath which is the inscription, 
" Jaume Olives, Mallorquien Marsela ay 1566." Jaume 
Olives was a member of the famous family of Oliva which 
first came into prominence in the island of Majorca. 
Other distinguished members of this family were Barto- 
lomeo and Domingo Oliva, each being the author of 
numerous portolan charts. Five other charts of this 
author are known, which represent the Mediterranean, 
one of which, bearing date 1557, is in the University 
Library of Pavia, one dated 1559 is in the National 
Library of Naples, one of 1561 is in the Vittorio 
Emanuele Library in Rome, one of 1563 is in the 
Museo Civico of Venice, and one of 1566 in Mar- 
seilles. The one here described appears to have been 
his last. Seven large compass roses are included in 
the circle of sixteen crossing points. Neither latitude 
nor longitude is indicated. Four scales of miles are 

The chart includes the entire Mediterranean, the 
Black Sea, the Red Sea with the indicated course of 
the Israelites at the northern extremity, the Atlantic 
coast of Spain from Cape Finisterre, and the coast of 
Africa to Cape Blanco. 

Important cities are made prominent, notably Genoa 
and Venice, and brilliantly-colored flags and banners are 
very numerous. 

The names are written in very small letters, and are 
numerous. The corners on the left of the sheet have been 
torn, but not to such extent as to injure the contents 
of the chart. It is one of the most valuable of the 



A portolan atlas of the year 1582, containing five 
charts each 32 x 48 cm. in size, bound in pasteboard 

On chart four appears the inscription, " Joan Martines 
en Messina Any 1582." 

A number of charts and atlases by this author are 
known, all of which are exceedingly well done. In the 
front of this atlas is pasted a brief description of the sev- 
eral charts by E. F. Jomard, editor of the famous atlas 
" Monuments de la Geographic" There are three or 
more compass roses on each chart, some of which are 
elaborately executed. The usual intricate crossing lines 
are inscribed, and on each chart a scale of miles drawn 
on a great waving scroll. The nomenclature is especially 

1. Chart one includes the eastern Mediterranean, the 
JEgean, and the Black Seas. Over Jerusalem waves a 
flag with the cross, over the Crimea the Genoese flag, 
which flag also appears prominent at the entrance to the 
Black Sea. The Red Sea is a conspicuous feature, and 
Cairo appears as a many-turreted city on the Nile. 

2. Chart two includes the central and western Medi- 
terranean. It contains all the characteristic features of 
the preceding, with Venice, Genoa, Marseilles, and two 
cities in northern Africa, made prominent by groups 
of turreted buildings. 

3. Chart three represents the coast region of west- 
ern Europe from Gibraltar to Denmark and Iceland. 
This chart is especially interesting. England and Scot- 
land, as on contemporaneous charts, are represented as 
separated by a strait. Iceland appears on the extreme 



northern border, southwest of which is " Frixlandia," 
with a few other names to be found on the Zeno map 
of 1558. " Isla de Brasil," with its usual peculiar fea- 
tures, is located to the southwest of Iceland. The Iberian 
peninsula is especially distinguished by its turreted cities 
and conspicuous banners. About four degrees to the 
west of Spain the prime meridian is drawn across the 
chart, on which degrees of latitude are very distinctly 

4. Chart four presents the west coast of Spain and 
the coast of Africa from Gibraltar to the mouth of the 
Senegal, which point is conspicuously marked with a 
Portuguese banner, as is also the city of Lisbon. The 
prime meridian on which the degrees of latitude are 
marked is represented much to the west of the Canary 
Islands, and is at least ten degrees farther west than 
on the preceding chart. It is on this chart that the 
name of Martines appears. 

5. Chart five represents the west coast of Africa 
from the mouth of the Senegal to the Cape of Good 
Hope, the last-named point being especially marked in 
large capitals "CAPO DI BONA SPIRANZA." 
Numerous Portuguese banners are inscribed along the 
coast. The prime meridian, if such it is intended to be, 
runs slightly to the west of Africa, north of the equator, 
while south of the same it is represented as starting at 
a point at least four degrees farther to the east. 

The atlas is well preserved in all its rich details. 

19. ANONYMOUS ATLAS, late 16th century. 

A French atlas of portolan charts of the second half 
of the sixteenth century in brown leather cover. It con- 


tains four charts each occupying double pages 49 x 61 
cm. in size. On the outside of the front cover is stamped 
" Ex libris Luigi Arrigoni Mediolani." Its author is 
unknown, but it corresponds in all important particulars 
to the contemporaneous work of Italian chart-makers. 

Compass roses are numerous and some are very 
large. Certain designs for banners, as well as the car- 
touches in which the scale of miles is inscribed are bril- 
liantly colored and elaborately executed. The coast lines 
are colored, certain parts of which are unusually heavily 

The coast nomenclature is very full, and regional 
names, especially, are in French. French portolan charts 
of the period are not numerous, and this work is one of 
the most valuable of the kind known. 

1. Chart one drawn on a large scale includes the 
western Mediterranean, the Atlantic coast of Africa to 
Cape Cantin. Many regional names are inscribed as 
"Europe," " Spagne," "Genes," "Provence," " Cata- 
logue," "Valence," " Granade," "Andalvzie," "P:Gal," 
" Afrique," " Tunis," " Arger," " Barbarie," " Fex." 

2. Chart two includes the middle Mediterranean and 
the Adriatic. The coast of France, of Tunis, of the 
island of Sicily, and the opposite mainland of Italy, the 
Adriatic coast of Tuscany, the coast of Istria, and the coast 
of western Greece, all are made especially prominent by 
heavy coloring. 

Regional names are numerous, including " Europe," 
"Genes," " Venise," " Italie," " Tuscane," " Istrie," 
" Dalmatie," " Tunis," " Tripoli." " Greece," and 
" Afrique " are inscribed in a conspicuous cartouche. 
As inserted in the atlas, the north is at the right. 

3. Chart three includes the eastern Mediterranean, 



is highly colored, and contains numerous elaborate orna- 
ments. " Europe," " Asie," and " Afrique " are ap- 
propriately inscribed, with the addition of such names as 
"Greece," " Troye," " Natolie," " Carmanie," " Svrie." 
Golgotha is represented with the three crosses. The 
mouth of the Nile is made prominent, as is the name 
" Barbaric" 

4. Chart four includes the entire Mediterranean, 
with a small section of the southwest shore of the Black 
Sea, the northern section of the Red Sea, the Atlantic 
coast of Spain from Cape Finisterre southward, the coast 
of Africa to Cape Cantin. There is a very considerable 
tongue extension of the sheet on the left. It is rather 
more highly decorated than is either of the preceding 
sheets, containing the regional names and most of the 
features represented on each of the preceding charts. 
It appears indeed to be simply a chart represent- 
ing the contents of the preceding grouped into one 

The entire atlas is one remarkably well preserved. 

20. DOMINICUS de VILLARROEL, 1590 circa. 

An atlas of portolan charts, bound in a pasteboard 
cover and drawn near the close of the sixteenth century. 
It contains seven charts, each 37 x 52 cm. in size, with 
one page representing Judith and Holophernes having 
a Latin subscription concluding with a reference to the 
author: "Hoc opvs D. Dominicvs de Villarroel Regis 
Hispaniarvm Cosmography s faciebat," one page repre- 
senting the martyrdom of St. Sebastien, and one page 
on which appear two circular calendar tables furnished 
with a movable parchment disc. Under each of the 


tables is an explanation as to its meaning and its 

Villarroel was probably not a Spaniard, as he is not 
referred to by Fernandez de Navarrete in his Bibliotheca 
maritima espanola, but was probably an Italian living 
under Spanish rule in Naples. The Bibliotheque Na- 
tionale of Paris possesses a portolan chart, apparently the 
work of this same chart-maker, representing the Medi- 
terranean, Europe, and northern Africa with the inscrip- 
tion, " Don Domingo de Villeroel, cosmographo de su 
Magestad, me fecit in civitate Neapolis 1589," and two 
atlases are referred to by Nordenskiold in his Periplus, 
p. 65, of the years 1530 and 1580 which may be by the 
same cosmographer. This atlas, hitherto unknown, is 
probably his last work. Each chart is covered with the 
usual crossing lines and contains several compass roses, 
some of which are elaborately executed. Degrees of 
latitude are represented, on each also the scale of miles 
in a waving scroll. Certain important cities are made 
especially conspicuous on the first four charts, and nu- 
merous banners of state and coats-of-arms are represented 
in their appropriate localities. 

1. Chart one represents the eastern Mediterranean 
and the Black Sea, recording in the interior regions only 
the names of the several countries. 

2. Chart two includes the central and western Medi- 
terranean, having compass roses which are especially well 
drawn. The several countries of central Europe are each 
distinguished by the representation of at least one city 
over which flies an appropriate banner. 

3. Chart three includes western Europe from Gib- 
raltar to the White Sea, and is remarkably well drawn. 
Spain gives excellent illustration of the statement (vid. 


p. 20) that a different scale of measurement was used for 
the Atlantic coast from that used for the Mediterranean 
coast. England and Ireland are remarkably well repre- 
sented as is the Baltic with the entire Scandinavian region. 

4. Chart four includes southern Spain with the coast 
of Africa to the Gulf of Guinea. The prime meridian 
is represented passing west of the Canary Islands, on 
which meridian degrees of latitude are marked from 1 
to 42 north. 

5. Chart five presents the Atlantic Ocean from 15 
to 60 north latitude. This is one of the most interesting 
charts of the Atlas, exhibiting on the right the coast of 
Africa, Portugal, and Ireland, at the top Iceland, Green- 
land, and the island of Frisland of the Zeno map, on the 
left Canada and Labrador with the neighboring islands 
under the name Terra Nova. In the middle Atlantic are 
many islands, among which are S. Brandan and Icaria. 
The North American coast represents a type between 
that of the Dieppe School and that of Ortelius as laid 
down in his Theatrum of 1570. 

6. Chart six includes the Adriatic, Lower Italy, and 
Sicily. In this and the succeeding chart the draftsman 
has altered somewhat his style, giving less attention to 
ornamentation. The cities are made prominent merely 
by a gold dot. Compass roses are less conspicuous though 
in the style of the small roses on the preceding charts, 
and the ribbon scroll in which is represented the scale of 
miles is the same pattern. 

7. Chart seven represents the entire iEgean Sea with 
the neighboring coast regions. As in the preceding 
chart ships are artistically sketched sailing the sea, and 
the towns, as well as all coast-places bearing name, are 
preceded by a gold dot. 



A small portolan chart of the year 1597. Its dimen- 
sions are 17 x 54 cm. The author legend near the upper 
border on the left reads, " Vincentius prunes in civis 
majoricarum me fecit anno 1597." 

Neither Uzielli e Amat nor Nordenskiold refers to 
this chart-maker, although they make brief mention of 
Matteo Prunes as a Majorcan cartographer whose work 
belongs to the second half of the sixteenth century. 

In the tongue extension on the left is a miniature of 
the Virgin and Child resting on a cloud, underneath which 
are the heads of three cherubs. 

The sheet being so much longer than broad would 
apparently call for at least two systems of crossing 
points. Instead but one is represented with its centre 
in the island of Sardinia. The circumference of the 
circle in which the sixteen points appear passes through 
the Adriatic on the right and the east coast of Spain 
on the left. The lines passing through those points are 
extended to the borders of the sheet. Numerous paral- 
lel lines cross the sheet from north to south and from 
east to west at intervals of about five degrees. 

Along the upper and also along the lower border a 
scale of miles is represented. 

The chart includes the entire Mediterranean, also the 
Atlantic coast region, from Cape Finisterre to Cape 
Cantin, with an extensive nomenclature, but no interior 
regional names are given. Ten miniature representations 
of cities are drawn, over each of which is an appropriate 

The chart is well preserved, though evidently very 
slightly reduced from its original size by trimming. 


22. ANONYMOUS ATLAS, second half of 16th 


An atlas containing three portolan charts of the late 
sixteenth century, bound in brown boards. Each chart 
is 40 x 58 cm. in size. It is the work of an unknown 
French cartographer. The continental coasts and most 
of the islands are colored. The chief ornamentation con- 
sists of compass roses, each of which has eight points, the 
central one in charts two and three being located in the 
island of Sicily, and there are somewhat elaborate car- 
touches, in each of which a scale of miles is represented. 

1. Chart one represents the Grecian Archipelago, in- 
cluding a section of the coast of Asia Minor, " Natolie," 
the island of " Candie " very prominent, the east coast 
of the Grecian peninsula, " Grece," and " Morea," and 
the coast of " Romanic" Chios and Rhodes are made 
conspicuous by means of their color and the silver 

2. Chart two represents the entire Mediterranean, 
the entrance to the Black Sea, the west coast of Spain, 
and the coast of Africa to Cape Cantin. Certain coast 
regions and islands have been made especially con- 
spicuous by color. Regional names in large capital let- 
ters are inscribed, as " Spagne," " Europe," " Asie," 
" Barbarie," " Afrique." This sheet has the tongue 
extension on the left. 

3. Chart three includes about the same as the pre- 
ceding, except that nothing beyond the Strait of Gibraltar 
is represented, and it is drawn on a somewhat larger 
scale. Sicily is made the centre of the group of sixteen 
crossing points, although not in the centre of the sheet, 
and a second crossing point is indicated in the eastern 


Mediterranean, which, however, is not represented as the 
centre of a system. 

The atlas is well preserved in all its details. 

23. ANONYMOUS ATLAS, close of the 16th 


A portolan atlas containing three charts, belonging 
to the closing years of the sixteenth century, in size 
35 x 62 cm. Though unsigned and undated it presents 
many features suggesting that it is the work of a mem- 
ber of the Oliva family. The drafting is exquisitely 
done, the decorations of each sheet showing workmanship 
of a superior quality. 

1. Chart one represents the Mgean Sea with all of 
its neighboring coasts to the west, the north, and the 
east, with the island of Crete at the south. The coasts 
are colored with certain sections very conspicuous. It 
contains a scale of miles in an elaborate cartouche stretch- 
ing entirely across the northern boundary, or as it appears 
in the atlas, on the extreme right. Compass roses are 
numerous, though not conspicuous, and the compass lines 
are rather more numerous than is usual by reason of 
the fact that each of the sixteen crossing points is con- 
nected with every other point, the lines being extended 
to the border of the chart. 

2. Chart two includes the entire Mediterranean, with 
a very limited section of the southwest coast of the Black 
Sea, and terminates in the west at Gibraltar. Sixteen 
pictures of important cities appear. The Nile with its 
numerous branches is represented, as is Golgotha sur- 
mounted with the three crosses. The chart furnishes an 
excellent example of an attempt to represent along the 



coasts rocky promontories and sand shoals. In each of 
the four corners a scale of miles is drawn with a half 
border ornament. 

3. Chart three represents the Atlantic coast of 
Europe and Africa from Holland to the mouth of the 
Senegal River, including the British Islands, the Azores, 
the Madeira, and the Canary Islands. Along the west- 
ern, or as it appears on the chart as placed in the 
atlas, the upper border, the degrees of latitude are rep- 
resented on a conspicuously drawn meridian line. Com- 
pass roses are numerous, and the crossing lines are 
arranged as on the other charts of the atlas. Two cities 
are represented in picture in France, three in Spain, and 
two in Africa. There is a mountain range in France 
running north and south and one similarly represented 
in the African desert with a spur extending to the 
southwest. A scale of miles is represented in the corner 
of the chart nearest Ireland, and one in an elaborate 
cartouche in Africa. 

24. ANONYMOUS CHART, 16th century. 

A small parchment sheet of the sixteenth century, 
24 x 37 cm. in size. 

It is clearly a double page chart from an atlas, hav- 
ing a narrow strip attached on the right to give the 
pages the requisite size. 

In the upper corner on the right the name " Rocco 
Bagli " has been written, which is probably the name of 
a one-time owner. Compass lines and compass cards are 
represented with the usual system of crossing lines. A 
scale of miles is drawn in the upper corner on the right. 
Along the border of the sheet, and outside the colored 


border, is a prominent representation of degrees of lati- 
tude, though numbers are not given. 

Color was liberally used, especially for compass cards, 
and along the coasts. Malta and Rhodes are covered 
with the cross of the Knights of St. John, but no cities 
are distinguished by miniatures, nor are flags or banners 

The chart includes the eastern Mediterranean from 
the island of Sicily. " Asie " across Asia Minor, and 
" Barbarie " in northern Africa, are the only regional 
names recorded. 

The chart is not one of great importance. It is in 
a fair state of preservation. 

25. ANONYMOUS CHART, late 16th century. 

A chart of the late sixteenth century, 18 x 19 cm. 
in size. In the lower corner on the left is the name 
" Bogali," probably that of a former possessor. It in- 
cludes the Tyrrhenian Sea with the adjacent coasts and 
islands, and has the usual crossing lines, with one com- 
pass rose. An ornamentation in the lower corner, near 
the inscribed name, suggests that it is the work of a 
French draftsman, though the nomenclature is Italian. 
The chart is not that of a careful, expert workman, nor 
is it one of great scientific value. Apparently it is a 
sheet from an atlas, greatly reduced from its original size. 
The names are all legible, though the sheet is considerably 


A portolan chart dated 1600, being 46 x 85 cm. in 
size. In the upper corner on the left is the author 


legend, " Vinus demetrei Volcius Rachuseus Fecit in 
terra Liburni de 13 Ianuari 1600." This chart is here 
first made known, but other portolan charts by Volcius 
which have been described bear dates 1593, 1596, 1598, 
1601, and 1607. It includes the entire Mediterranean 
with the Atlantic coast from Cape Finisterre to Cape 
Bojador. The centre of the circle in which the sixteen 
crossing points appear is in southern Italy. There are 
five compass or wind roses, and on both the upper 
and the lower border a scale of miles has been 

The chart is remarkably clean and well preserved, 
having a considerable tongue extension on the left, and 
a narrow black border making an angle in the tongue 
extension, which border is omitted on the right. 


A portolan chart of the year 1605. In size it is 58 
x 81 cm. In the tongue extension of the chart is a re- 
presentation of the Virgin and Child, and the date 1605, 
which, however, has been crudely altered to 1505. To 
the right, and slightly below the picture of the Virgin, 
is the author legend, " Carta nauticatoria di mano de 
Baldasaro da Maiolo e Giouan Antonio de Visconte fatta 
nell' anno 1605 in Genoua," the year as here given having 
been also changed by the same hand. 

Baldasaro was the last descendant of the famous 
Maiolo family of Genoa, especially distinguished as chart- 
makers in the sixteenth century. Apparently only two 
other charts of Baldasaro's are known, one of 1566, and 
one of 1583. Giovan Antonio was likewise a member 
of a famous family, of which family Pietro Vesconte 


was a member, whose name appears on the oldest-known 
portolan chart bearing date. 

Compass cards are numerous, though not elaborate 
in design: a very simple scale of miles is represented on 
the upper and also on the lower border. 

The chart represents the Mediterranean, the Black 
Sea, a small section of the Red Sea, the Atlantic coast 
of Europe from Gibraltar to Holland, and in faint out- 
line a section of the Baltic and the southern extremity 
of Scandinavia, the coast of Africa to " rio doro," the 
British Islands, the Azores, the Madeira, the Canary 
Islands, and the fabulous islands " Maida " and " Brazil." 
Colored groups of turrets with flying banners represent 
the larger cities, among which Genoa, Venice, and Con- 
stantinople are especially conspicuous. In all eighteen 
cities are so distinguished. Much care seems to have 
been exercised with reference to the insertion of the 
British Islands. 

In its colors and nomenclature the chart is well pre- 
served, though the sheet has been slightly stained and 
torn in the margins. 

28. JOANNES OLIVA, early 17th century. 

Portolan chart of the first quarter of the seventeenth 
century, 51 x 96 cm. in size. In the upper corner on 
the left is a somewhat faded representation of Christ on 
the cross, to the right of which, and somewhat below it, 
is the inscription: "Joannes Oliva fecit in civitate 
Liburni aflo domini . . ." the numbers representing 
the year having been erased. 

The author was a member of the famous Oliva family, 
coming originally from the Balearic Islands, and later 



having its representatives in many localities in Italy. 
Nine other single parchment charts and two atlases of 
his are known; the chart here described being apparently 
hitherto unknown. 

Fifteen compass roses adorn the chart, though not all 
of the same design, the central one being located on the 
island of Sicily, from which the thirty-two lines radiate. 
A scale of miles appears on the upper border, and on 
the lower the scale is recorded three times in a long wav- 
ing scroll. Latitude is represented on a meridian cross- 
ing the chart east of the heel of the boot of Italy. The 
chart represents the Mediterranean and the Black Sea 
with a small section of the Atlantic coast from Lisbon 
to Cape Cantin. 

The three continents are designated by name. In 
Africa the river Nile is drawn, and in Palestine Golgotha 
with the three crosses. 

The nomenclature is in Catalan, or in Italian with 
distinct Catalan forms, and as usual the names are in 
red and black. It is an interesting fact that those written 
in red are best preserved. 

Over Rhodes, Chios, and Malta the cross is represented. 

The chart is very well executed, but is somewhat in- 
jured along the edges, and in parts is slightly faded. 



A portolan chart of the early seventeenth century, 
in size 53 x 100 cm. 

On the left in the tongue extension is the author 
legend, " Placitus Calviro et Olivia fecit in nobile urbe 
messana . . ." Numerous charts signed as here are 


known, possessing no superior scientific value, though 
well drawn and elaborately decorated. The date of this 
chart has been erased apparently with the thought of 
substituting another for the original. In the extension on 
the left is a miniature of the Madonna and Child. It is 
furnished with an elaborate border ornament, except on 
the right, where this appears to have been cut away. 
Degrees of latitude are represented on the left. 

The chart includes the Mediterranean, the Black Sea, 
part of the North Sea, the Atlantic coast from Holland 
to a point near Cape Verde in Africa, with the British 
Islands, the Madeira and the Canary Islands. It is a 
chart elaborately ornamented, especially in Africa. West 
of Spain in the " Mare Oceano " two ocean monsters are 
represented. Various animals are to be seen in Africa, 
and palm trees are numerous. There are many minia- 
ture representations of cities, each with its appropriate 
banner. The three continental names have been in- 
scribed, also Golgotha with the three crosses, and the Nile 
River, " Flume Nillo." No less than twelve rulers appear 
in their respective countries, each in full figure, with his 
appropriate shield. These represent " R. de Spania," 
" R. de Francia," " Imperator," " R. de Ungaria," " R. 
de Russia," " Gran Turc," " Gran soldano di Babilonia," 
" R. de Tripoli," " R. de Tunis," " R. de Alger," " R. de 
Fes," * R. de Maraco." 

The purely geographical parts of the chart, including 
the coast lines and nomenclature, are very much faded, 
but the ornamentation is well preserved. 

30. ANONYMOUS CHART, early 17th century. 

A large parchment chart of the early seventeenth cen- 


tury, 77 x 93 cm. in size. It is unsigned but the general 
character of the draftsmanship and the brief inscrip- 
tion near the scale of miles reading, " Duytsche Mylen 15 
voor een Graedt," suggests that it had its origin in the 
Netherlands though in the main the nomenclature is 

As the chart represents the territory of especial in- 
terest to the Dutch West India Company, it is probable 
that it was drawn for use on one of its ships, and not 
long after the year 1621, in which year that company 
was founded. Later settlements in west Africa and 
Brazil are not represented. The map is covered with a 
network of compass lines in which the usual portolan 
chart colors appear, and one compass rose has been in- 
scribed. Degrees of latitude are indicated which extend 
from 45 south to 43 north. On the right is represented 
the west coast of Portugal and Africa to the Cape of 
Good Hope, and on the left the east coast of South 
America from the mouth of the Amazon to the Rio de 
la Plata, North America and the West Indies being 
omitted. In the upper corner on the right is an inset 
map containing the west coast of Europe with the British 
Islands as far north as 60 north latitude. The interior 
regions are left blank, but the harbors, inlets, headlands, 
and mouths of rivers are represented, suggesting that the 
map was intended for practical use on shipboard. A 
stamp in the middle of the sheet indicates that the chart 
earlier belonged to the Depot des Cartes, Plans et Jour- 
naux de la Marine in Paris. On the inset map appear 
the regional names " Yrlandt," " Schotlandt," " Enge- 
landt," " Francia," and " Hispania." In Africa appear 
the names "Marocho," "Mandinga," "Guinea,"' "Benin," 
" Loango," " Gout Cust," " Gabon," and " Angola," and 


in the New World " Brasilia " and " Terra dos Patos." 
The chart is remarkably well preserved and all names are 
legible, the names of the Atlantic islands being in red. 


A portolan chart, once part of an atlas, of the year 
1637. It is 42 x 58 cm. in size. 

In the upper corner on the left is the author legend, 
" Jouan Batta Cauallini in Liuorno Ano 1637." Caval- 
lini was a chart-maker of distinction of the city of Leg- 
horn, Italy. Uzielli e Amat mention three charts and two 
atlases by this author, four of which are dated respectively, 
1636, 1639, 1642, 1654, and one undated. It contains 
numerous compass roses well executed, from each of which 
thirty-two lines radiate. A scale of miles appears in each 
corner of the sheet within an elaborately drawn design, 
and the chart is furnished with an artistic border. De- 
grees of latitude are marked on a line crossing the sheet 
to the west of the Madeira Islands. 

The chart includes the western Mediterranean and the 
Atlantic coast regions from northern France to " Arguin " 
in Africa. The names inscribed for the larger areas are 
" Spania," " Gallia," " Barbaria," " Africa." Numerous 
cities are represented in miniature with banners, and near 
each is the name of the province or region in which the 
city lies. The provinces so distinguished are in Europe 
" Piemonte," " Provenza," " Guascognia," " Navara," 
" Catalognia," " Valenzia," " Cartagena," " Andaluzia," 
" Castiglia," " Portogallo," " Galizia," "Biscaia"; in 
Africa "Tunesi," " Costantina," "Algieri," " Oran," 
"Fesse," " Maroco," "Arguin." 



The elephant, the bear, and the unicorn are represented 
in Africa. 

The chart is well preserved. 


An atlas of four portolan charts of the year 1650, 
bound in parchment cover, each chart being 29 x 42 cm. 
in size. In the lower corner on the right of chart one 
appears the legend, " Georg. Andrea Bockler, Archt. u. 
Ingeineur Ffort. 1650." This probably refers to the 
author: it may be an inscription of a one-time owner. 
We know that at Frankfort a/M. about the middle of 
the seventeenth century, there lived a distinguished 
architect and engineer by the name here given. Many 
of his works are extant, especially certain ones relating 
to architecture, to the science of war and heraldry, and 
there is also an engraved map of his known representing 
biblical history. The atlas appears to be a copy based 
wholly upon Italian sources of the fifteenth and sixteenth 
centuries, and closely resembles the work of the Oliva 
family. Each sheet contains compass roses with the 
usual sixteen crossing points arranged about a central 
point. We have here a fine illustration of the combination 
of wind and compass rose, the eight winds being desig- 
nated in the central part of each compass card by ap- 
propriate initials, the north, however, having the needle 
point in place of the initial T, and the east the Greek 
cross, instead of the initial L. Each sheet has a scale 
of miles distinctly marked. Flags and banners are 
numerous on each chart, as are miniature repre- 
sentations of the important cities. The coast lines are 


composed of a series of short curves with numerous breaks, 
as if to indicate the mouths of streams or rivers. 

1. Chart one represents the Atlantic coast of the old 
world from Cape Finisterre to a point near the mouth 
of the Senegal, including the Madeira and the Canary- 
Islands. To the left of these islands a very conspicuous 
line is drawn on which degrees of latitude are indicated. 
" S.tiago " and " lisbona " are marked with turreted 
buildings and banners. Three cities, " Melli," " Ciudat 
de boxador," and " S. juan," are so distinguished in 

2. Chart two contains the west coast of Europe and 
Africa from Holland to Cape Cantin, though the first 
point indicated at the north is " dansic ", with the Medi- 
terranean coast as far as the meridian of Marseilles, 
including also the British Islands, and in the extreme 
northwest " Frixlandia," and to the south of this, " ilia de 
brasill." The cities made prominent by colored miniatures 
include " frixa," " anvero," " Avignon," " barsalona," 
" valensia," " granada," " lisbona," " S.tiago." 

3. Chart three includes the Mediterranean from the 
north coast of Spain to the Gulf of Corinth. On this 
chart Venice and Genoa are made especially prominent 
with picture and banner. Five other cities are indicated 
in a similar manner. 

4. Chart four includes the eastern Mediterranean 
and the Black Sea. Banners are particularly numerous 
on this chart. " Gerussallem," " Mont de Sinayi," and 
"babelonia" (Cairo) are given special prominence. 
The Red Sea has not the usual solid red color, but is 
crossed with waving red lines. 

The atlas is remarkably well preserved.